In response to the Central Queensland bushfires, disaster assistance has been extended to help cover the costs of fighting the fires in Banana Shire Council and provide further recovery assistance to communities in Isaac, Livingstone and Mackay.
Assistant Minister for Home Affairs Senator the Hon Linda Reynolds and Queensland Fire and Emergency Services Minister the Hon Craig Crawford have also announced low-interest disaster assistance loans had been activated for affected small businesses in Gladstone, Mackay and Rockhampton.
Assistance is being provided through the jointly funded Commonwealth-State Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements (DRFA) and is in addition to the assistance already available for communities in Central Queensland.
Assistant Minister Reynolds, who has responsibility for Commonwealth disaster assistance, said the ongoing bushfire situation in Central Queensland had significantly affected several communities.
"The Commonwealth and Queensland governments continue to work closely to support ongoing recovery efforts and identify where further assistance can be provided," Assistant Minister Reynolds said.
"Through the DRFA, we are able to provide Banana Shire Council with assistance to fight the fires as well as funding for operational response activities.
"Assistance is now also available to alleviate personal hardship and assist the safe reconnection of essential services in the suburbs of Blue Mountain and Carmila in Isaac, The Caves in Livingstone and Bloomsbury and Broken River in Mackay."
Minister Crawford said in addition to the community recovery measures, the recovery of small businesses affected by the fires was also vital for the region's recovery.
"Small businesses play an important role across Central Queensland and we are very pleased to be able to activate these assistance measures under the DRFA," Minister Crawford said.
"It will allow affected small businesses in Gladstone, Mackay and Rockhampton to access concessional loans of up to $250,000 and essential working capital loans of up to $100,000.
"Disaster assistance has also been made available to eight local government areas in response to this unprecedented bushfire event in recent history.
"The Queensland Government has been working closely with the Commonwealth to ensure we are able to provide assistance to the communities and sectors that need it the most."
Information on disaster assistance can be found on the Australian Government's Disaster Assist website at www.disasterassist.gov.au and the Queensland Government's Disaster Management website at www.disaster.qld.gov.au.