Hunter Labor MPs have welcomed the announcement today by the Minister for Social Services, Scott Morrison, that one-off funding of $62,000 has been extended to a number of local Emergency Relief (ER) providers in response to the April super storm.
The Federal Government provides ER funding to community organisations that help people address immediate basic needs in times of financial crisis. ER is generally provided in the form of material and financial aid, including food parcels or items, clothes, bedding, household items, vouchers (for example supermarket, utilities, petrol) and, in limited circumstances, cash.
“For a lot of people the storm was a catalyst for financial hardship. People who, under ordinary circumstances manage to make ends meet, were caught out by the unexpected costs that came along with this event,” Mr Conroy said.
“For some, it was losing all the food in their fridge and freezer during the power outage, for others it was the cost of fuel to run the generator for a few days. Even the simple fact that children couldn’t attend school for days or weeks added to some family budgets. Unfortunately, very few were covered by the Disaster Support Payment and there was a huge need for extra support.”
“These charities don’t turn people away and they do everything they can to help. Resources from other areas of the organisation are often redirected to cover urgent demand.” Ms Claydon said.
“The Samaritans in Newcastle, for example, brought forward their Winter appeal and have merged two of their relief centres in to one in Adamstown. They say that the number of people seeking assistance has doubled in the aftermath of the storm.”
“All Hunter MPs worked closely with the Minister’s office to see this extra funding come through, and whilst we may not have received everything we asked for I am really pleased that at times like this we can all work together toward the shared goal of supporting our communities,” Mr Fitzgibbon said.
“For anyone who is still struggling I would encourage them to make contact with one of these groups, like the Swansea Community Cottage in my area, or they contact their local MP for assistance,” Ms Hall said.
“Of course, there many groups that don’t receive funding from the Government and rely on community donations to do the same thing and we can all come together to support them too.”
Eight groups across the disaster declared local government areas will receive the funding:
• Dungog Information & Neighbourhood Service Inc.
• Raymond Terrace Neighbourhood Centre Inc.
• Samaritans Foundation Diocese
• Maitland Neighbourhood Centre Inc.
• Swansea Community Cottage
• Singleton Neighbourhood Centre
• Mindaribba Local Aboriginal Land Council
JOINT MEDIA RELEASE
PAT CONROY MP
Federal Member for Charlton
SHARON CLAYDON MP
Federal Member for Newcastle
JOEL FITZGIBBON MP
Federal Member for Hunter
JILL HALL MP
Federal Member for Shortland