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26 January 2011

2011 Flood Update: Victims miss out on relief cash

FRUSTRATED Ipswich residents want authorities to make it easier to access emergency flood relief funding with claims the means test's top threshold is too low.

Geoff Woollett, pictured in his gutted Moores Pocket home,
does not qualify for government assistance as he and his wife earn too much.

FRUSTRATED Ipswich residents want authorities to make it easier to access emergency flood relief funding with claims the means test's top threshold is too low.

Moores Pocket resident Geoff Woollett said it exasperated some residents that they could not access some relief payments because their household's combined annual income was above $50,000.

A $5000 grant to help uninsured home owners restore essential utilities is not available to couples with a combined annual income of more than $48,400 or for singles who earn more than $36,600.

Mr Woollett, 62, said the $48,400 mark was too low even for a lot of working class families, leaving well-deserving households without the relief they deserved.

The Moores Pocket Road resident, a truck driver, and his wife Sue Woollett, a child care worker, earned too much to qualify for payments to help restore their devastated house.

"It's far too low. It's the average Joe Blow who needs a helping hand and most households would make more than that," Mr Woollett said.

Mr Woollett, who is waiting to see if he is covered by insurance, said it came at a bad time with both he and his wife a month away from retirement.

First round of payments from the $145 million Premier's Disaster Relief Appeal would not be means tested, with adults receiving $2000 and children getting $1000.

Future payments from the Queensland Premier's Disaster Relief Appeal will likely go to those who pass a $100,000 annual income test.

But there has been a community backlash since it was revealed future payments will likely be means-tested, with donors arguing the fund should not discriminate.

For more information on how to apply for the payments, call the Australian Government hotline on 180 22 66 or the Queensland Department of Community Services on 1800 173 349.

Full story: www.qt.com.au

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