Mar 4, 2022 2:09:17 PM

Help on Hand for Australians Impacted by Unprecedented Weather Event

Topics: Mortgage Broker, Financial Health, Home Loans 0

Large parts of South-Eastern Queensland and Northern New South Wales have been left decimated, following an unprecedented weather event on 21 February 2022. Over two weeks of rain culminated in approximately 18,000 homes being flooded, displacing thousands of Australians across these regions.

In support of those affected by the flooding, Insurance Council of Australia has declared an insurance catastrophe, Federal Government is providing financial aid, and banks are stepping up to help mortgage customers. Here’s an outline of the support available should you need it.

Untitled design (2)

Insurance Support

In response to the severe flooding in the region, the Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) has declared an insurance catastrophe to aid all affected. As of 28 February 2022, the ICA’s declaration will cover those affected by the flooding across South-East Queensland and the NSW Mid North Coast and will see an escalation and prioritisation of the insurance industry’s response for affected policyholders. The organisation has also activated its disaster hotline to help all impacted by the flooding event.

For more information, contact the ICA’s hotline on – 1300 728 228.

Federal Government Support

In New South Wales, 17 local government areas (LGAs) have been declared as disaster areas and are eligible for support through Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements (DRFA), including:

  • A Disaster Relief Grant – to assist low-income earners faced with disaster hardship who have suffered damage to the structure or contents of their home.
  • Personal and financial counselling.
  • Assistance finding temporary housing for those who have been forced from their homes.

Additionally, Queenslanders and residents in New South Wales impacted by the floods can apply for up to $1,000 per eligible adult and $400 per eligible child, as part of the government’s Disaster Recovery Payment (AGDRP), from Monday (28 February).

The payment is a “one-off”, non-means-tested payment and is available to eligible people in impacted local government areas who have suffered a “significant loss”, such as a severely damaged or destroyed home or serious injury. Further Commonwealth assistance is expected to be extended to other impacted regions and local government areas as the flood  

Eligible residents can claim support via myGov or by calling Services Australia on 180 22 66. 

Banks Financial Assistance

All four major banks have launched financial assistance measures for customers impacted by the unfolding flooding events. All appear to be offering:

  • Short-term or customised payment relief on home loans, credit cards, personal loans and some business loans (they may still charge interest during this period)
  • Waiving fees for restructuring business loans 

NAB financial support on offer includes:

  • Immediate access to $1,000 grants to help cover costs such as temporary accommodation, food and clothing (eligibility criteria applies)
  • $1,000 business grants to help restart or reopen and cover the cost of damaged property, equipment, fencing – and for loss of stock or livestock
  • ​​​​​​​Concessional loans to customers seeking support to restructure existing facilities to assist in repairs, restocking and re-opening for business 

ANZ’s relief package measures on offer include: 

  • Waiving fees for accessing term deposits early as well as the assistance measures that all are offering.

Commonwealth Bank customers in Queensland and northern NSW can access a range of support services, including: 

  • Waiving fees and charges
  • Temporary overdrafts, additional loans or emergency credit limit increases (subject to credit approval)
  • Waiving fees and notice periods for early access to term deposits 

Westpac and St.George customers affected by floods could be able to access:

  • Personal loans at a discounted interest rate with no establishment fee, for those wishing to purchase replacement goods
  • Waived interest rate adjustments for those wishing to withdraw term deposits
  • A halt on all interest accrual on unsecured credit products for a period of up to three months
  • Defer repayments on business loans for up to three months
  • Assistance for affected business customers with merchant facilities, including monthly terminal access fee waivers for up to three months

Experiencing financial hardship

We know this is a challenging time for many families and business in QLD and NSW. Mortgage Express brokers would like to help provide some peace of mind so you can focus getting back on your feet again. If you need assistance accessing any of the financial measures above, please get in touch and we’ll do our best to help you.

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.

Finservice Pty Ltd (Mortgage Express) is authorised as a corporate credit representative (Corporate Credit Representative Number 397386) to engage in credit activities on behalf of BLSSA Pty Ltd (Australian Credit Licence number 391237) ACN 123 600 000 | Full member of MFAA | Member of Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) | Member of Choice Aggregation Services.