In late March 2021, parts of New South Wales experienced the worst flooding in over 50 years, with record levels of rainfall. A number of communities were evacuated, displacing families from several towns and suburbs across the state. In response, lenders and government have rolled out financial support measures for businesses and households affected by flooding. Here’s a brief snapshot of flood relief packages and how to access them.
Australian Government Disaster Recovery Payment
The New South Wales government is offering flood relief support to residents in eligible areas in New South Wales who have been affected by flooding. The Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements (DFRA), jointly funded by the federal government and the state, provides a one-off payment of $1,000 per adult and $400 per child.
Anyone in the eligible areas listed below, who has suffered serious injury, damage to property, or loss of property, can contact Services Australia on 180 22 66 to claim the payment. Claims need to be made before 10 September 2021.
Eligible areas include: Armidale, Bellingen, Blacktown, Blue Mountains, Camden, Campbelltown, Canterbury Bankstown, Central Coast, Cessnock, Clarence Valley, Coffs Harbour, Cumberland, Dungog Shire, Fairfield, Hawkesbury, Hornsby, Inner West, Kempsey, Ku-ring-gai, Lake Macquarie, Liverpool, Maitland, Mid-Coast, Nambucca, Newcastle, Northern Beaches, Parramatta, Penrith, Port Macquarie-Hastings, Port Stephens, Sutherland, Tenterfield, The Hills and Wollondilly.
Disaster Recovery Allowance
For employees, primary producers and sole traders who have lost their income due to the storms and flooding, may be eligible to access fortnightly income support payments for up to 13 weeks. This is paid at the Jobseeker Payment or Youth Allowance rate, depending on your circumstances.
You must be a resident in one of the 34 local government areas affected by flooding and your claim must be lodged before 10 September 2021. You’ll find more information on the Services Australia website.
Big Banks' Support Measures
In addition to support from local government, the four big banks have also set up support measures to help homeowners in the affected regions. If you have been impacted by flooding, it’s vital you contact your lender right away to find out what support is available to you.
Here is a brief outline of bank support measures currently available to eligible bank customers:
NAB Disaster Relief
- Covers a range of fee and payment options over a range of their products
- Access to complimentary, professional and confidential counselling.
Call NAB Assist on 1800 701 599 (8am-8pm Mon-Fri, or 9am-1pm on Saturdays AEST/AEDT) or visit https://www.nab.com.au/about-us/social-impact/customers/natural-disaster-and-crisis-support?own_cid=shortURL:disaster.
ANZ Financial Support
- Payment assistance including deferral for up to three months or fee waivers on a range of personal and business facilities and early access to Term Deposits
- Temporary interest rate reductions on lending for customers experiencing extreme financial distress.
Contact ANZ’s dedicated financial hardship team on 1800 149 549 or visit https://www.anz.com.au/support/natural-disaster-support/.
CBA Emergency Assistance
- Customised payment arrangements for multiple types of personal lending.
- Waiver of fees and charges, including early access to Term Deposits
- Temporary overdrafts, additional loans or emergency credit limit increases (subject to credit approval).
- For CommInsure customers, assistance with emergency accommodation if your home has been damaged and an expedited claims service.
Phone 1800 314 695 or visit https://www.commbank.com.au/support/emergency-assistance-package.html.
Westpac Emergency Assistance
- Defer home loan and credit card repayments for up to three months.
- Apply for a personal loan at a discounted interest rate with no establishment fee.
- Waiver of interest rate adjustments for customers wishing to withdraw term deposits.
- Business customers may request loan restructuring with no fees incurred.
Contact Westpac Assist on 1800 067 497.
If you are facing financial hardship as a result of a natural disaster, it’s important you get in touch with your lender right away and the assistance is not limited to the four big banks. Your lender can work with you to formulate a plan of action to help you get back on track again.
Please get in touch with Mortgage Express to find out more about your options or even to look into refinancing or refixing your home loan, which may help you weather these uncertain times.
While all care has been taken in the preparation of this publication, no warranty is given as to the accuracy of the information and no responsibility is taken by Finservice Pty Ltd (Mortgage Express) for any errors or omissions. This publication does not constitute personalised financial advice. It may not be relevant to individual circumstances. Nothing in this publication is, or should be taken as, an offer, invitation, or recommendation to buy, sell, or retain any investment in or make any deposit with any person. You should seek professional advice before taking any action in relation to the matters dealt within this publication. A Disclosure Statement is available on request and free of charge.
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