NSW Emergency Services Minister Steve Whan today said small businesses and primary producers could apply for grants of up to $15,000 to help them recover from the impact of the devastating Northern NSW floods.

Mr Whan welcomed Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s announcement of joint State-Commonwealth grants for the small business and primary production sectors. 

“This is a natural disaster on an enormous scale and both the State and Commonwealth governments are working hard to help the community recover,” Mr Whan said. 

“As the wide brown sea of floodwater begins to subside, it is clear that many primary producers, including those in the dairy, livestock, horticulture and aquaculture industries, will have suffered significant damage. 

“Hundreds of other small businesses, from main street newsagents and bakers to corner stores and tourism operators, also will be bearing the brunt of damage to their premises, lost stock and disrupted business. 

“We are now working with the Commonwealth to bring some relief to these business owners through these one-off grants.” 

Mr Whan said the additional relief provided under the Community Recovery Package meant one-off grants of up to $15,000 were available for small businesses and primary producers with proof of expenditure. 

Mr Whan said the disaster recovery process had started immediately, as the State Government’s Recovery Co-ordinator, former NSW Police Commissioner Ken Moroney, had begun his tour of the flooded region, meeting community leaders. 

“The Lismore, Byron, Ballina, Kyogle, Richmond Valley and Tweed councils have already established a joint Disaster Recovery Committee, which is being chaired by Lismore Mayor Cr Jenny Dowell,” Mr Whan said.  

“A one-stop-shop Disaster Recovery Centre to provide information and support to residents will be opened in Lismore in coming days and the centre set up at 25 Gordon St, Coffs Harbour, after the April floods will remain open.   

“Additional centres will be opened in other affected areas. These will stay open for as long as necessary to help people get back on their feet.” 

Details on the Community Recovery Package grants are available from the NSW Rural Assistance Authority on 1800 678 593 (for small business) or 1800 814 647 (for primary producers). 

If you need emergency assistance, contact the SES on 132 500. For life-threatening emergencies, call Triple Zero. 

Other flood information is available on 1800 227 228. 

Drivers should check the RTA Traffic Information Line on 131 700 or www.rta.nsw.gov.au for the latest road information.