New Disaster Recovery Allowance Bill introduced

For the first time there will be a permanent solution to providing disaster assistance to workers, small business people and farmers experience a loss of income as a direct result of a disaster.

For the first time there will be a permanent solution to providing disaster assistance to workers, small business people and farmers experience a loss of income as a direct result of a disaster.

Attorney-General and Minister for Emergency Management Mark Dreyfus QC introduced the Social Security Legislation Amendment (Disaster Recovery Assistance) Bill, which creates the Disaster Recovery Allowance.

The allowance will provide fortnightly payments equivalent to the maximum rate of Newstart Allowance or Youth Allowance for up to 13 weeks following a disaster.

"Over this summer Australians have suffered devastating disasters, including cyclones, flooding and bushfires," said Mark Dreyfus.

"Supporting workers, small businesses and farmers following a disaster and keeping them in their local area is key to long term community recovery.

"If workers lose their job following a natural disaster, often they will be forced to relocate to find new work.

"Training new workers takes time and money. This payment will mean that workers, small businesses and farmers will be financially supported so that they can remain in the community and return to work after recovery and rebuilding efforts conclude."

The Disaster Recovery Allowance will replace the current Disaster Income Recovery Subsidy payment, which is delivered via an ex gratia payment.

Once passed, the Disaster Recovery Allowance will start on 1 October 2013.

The Australian Government also provides assistance through the Australian Government Disaster Recovery Payment and in cooperation with the states, through the Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements.