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$104.5m Cyclone Seroja disaster recovery package ? biggest in WA history ? announced

By Bridget Herrmann and Michelle Stanley, Thursday July 29, 2021 - 06:33 EST
ABC image
Cyclone Seroja wreaked havoc over a vast area. - ABC

The largest disaster recovery package in Western Australia's history has been announced for communities impacted by Cyclone Seroja.


More than $104 million in has been made available via the Commonwealth-state Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements to local government areas across the Midwest, Gascoyne and Wheatbelt.


WA Emergency Services Minister Reece Whitby said the focus was on recovery and rebuilding.


"It's a grant of up to $20,000 for individual families, grants of up to $25,000 for farmers and small businesses, lots of support for community outreach, because we know people are suffering and doing it tough in terms of their mental health as well," he said.


"And it's support for local councils so they can start to rebuild some of the cultural and heritage assets they have."


Homework had to be done


Mr Whitby said the package took "a long time" to be announced because authorities were working out how to target the funds.


"We had to do our homework ? we had to reach into the communities to find out exactly what they want, what their needs were, what their rebuilding issues are," he said.


"There has been assistance all the way along ? it's not just simply 'hold on and wait' till now."


The package includes financial support for the clean-up and restoration of damaged community, recreational and cultural buildings and assets, a community welfare and outreach program, and grants to individuals, small businesses and primary producers.


Sixteen local government areas will be eligible for funding, including the Shire of Perenjori.


"I think it's fantastic news," shire president Chris King said.


"Over $100 million is a significant amount of money throughout the communities.


"I'd like to congratulate Minister Whitby and the Premier in negotiations with [their federal counterparts] and getting this sort of money out there, it'll be great."


Shire of Mingenew chief executive Nils Hay said the announcement was more than welcome.


"We're really grateful," he said.


But Mr Hay said there had been difficulty in sourcing and housing workers for the rebuilding efforts.


"The money is obviously very, very good, but we need to be able to spend it on builders and tradespeople and actually get the rebuilding process happening," he said.


"I'm really keen to see how this package addresses some of that."







- ABC

© ABC 2021

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