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Cyclone Seroja payment leaves more questions than answers for Kalbarri small business

Monday May 10, 2021 - 05:40 EST
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One month after Tropical Cyclone Seroja, the tourist community of Kalbarri is slowly reopening its doors. - ABC

Midwest residents and businesses impacted by Cyclone Seroja have been left with more questions than answers after the WA government announced a new financial support payment over the weekend.

Payments of $4,000 will be made available to an estimated 360 residents who lost their homes or received significant damage.

An estimated 200 businesses, including small retailers, tourism businesses and hospitality venues that suffered financially following the cyclone will also be eligible to apply.

Still 'a lot of questions'

Melissa Finlay, who owns a restaurant and brewery in the tourist town of Kalbarri, was pleased by the news of the payment but said the announcement left "a lot of questions". 

"Any support is welcome, absolutely, we appreciate every bit of support," Ms Finlay said.

"It's $4,000 but there's no timeframe, there's no criteria, there's still a lot of questions to be answered."

Criticism over a lack of support

The announcement came two days after Emergency Services and Small Business Minister Reece Whitby spoke with ABC Radio Perth. He was responding to criticism of a lack of support by the state government for businesses impacted by Kalbarri's four-week closure.

The criticism came after businesses in the Perth and Peel region were offered $2,000 compensation for the recent three-day snap COVID-19 lockdown. 

Financial help welcome

Ms Finlay said she was "hoping for a few more answers there and a bit more detail" regarding the payments for cyclone-affected areas.

Despite the lack of information, and no way yet for impacted businesses or residents to apply for the payments, Ms Finlay said the money would "help pay the bills".

"With the lack of cash flow coming in, at least we can pay the bills, keep the doors open to keep operating," she said.

"It does help ? every business is just appreciative of any help you get at the moment."

In its announcement, the government said further details on the application process would be available shortly.

Kalbarri reopened to tourists last Thursday night.


© ABC 2021

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