POWERFUL: This large sign crumpled along the D'Aguilar Highway serves as a reminder of the severe hail storm which swept through Coolabunia on October 11.
POWERFUL: This large sign crumpled along the D'Aguilar Highway serves as a reminder of the severe hail storm which swept through Coolabunia on October 11. Jessica McGrath

Assistance available after disaster storm

THE severe storms which swept across the Wide Bay Burnett region in October has been officially declared as a natural disaster.

Fire and emergency services minister Craig Crawford and police minister Mark Ryan announced on October 20, primary producers affected by the storms could access concessional loans.

Primary producers who were affected by the severe hail storms from October 11 to 14 may apply for the low interest loans of up to a maximum of $250,000.

To apply for assistance for direct damage caused by Wide Bay-Burnett Severe Storms, primary producers must be located in either the South Burnett Regional Council, Gympie Regional Council or Fraser Coast Regional Council area.

The initial annual interest rates is 1.37 per cent for loans for those affected by the Wide Bay-Burnett Severe Storms.

DAMAGE: Some of the storm damage still waiting to be cleared near Coolabunia State School after the severe hail storm on October 11.
DAMAGE: Some of the storm damage still waiting to be cleared near Coolabunia State School after the severe hail storm on October 11. Jessica McGrath

Producers may use the primary production enterprise by covering costs such as, repairing or replacing damaged plant and equipment, repairing or replacing buildings, or purchasing livestock to replace those lost in the disaster event.

The loan may also be used to meet requirements for the producers to carry on after the severe storms such as replanting, restoring or re-establishing areas affected by the disaster event, sustenance, essential property operations and paying rent and rates.

Primary producers may only receive assistance under one assistance scheme, either the Natural Disaster Assistance Scheme or the Natural Disaster Assistance.

The loans may be applied for a maximum term of up to seven years, and if needed, repayments of up to two years interest may be available.

CLEAN UP: Coolabunia State School are still cleaning up the fallen branches from the severe hail storms on October 11.
CLEAN UP: Coolabunia State School are still cleaning up the fallen branches from the severe hail storms on October 11. Jessica McGrath

To be eligible for assistance, primary producers must have received direct damage from the natural disaster, and the loan under the scheme must be secured by a mortgage of land.

Other assets must be satisfactory to the Queensland Rural and Industry Development Authority.

For more information about storm assistance support contact the Burnett, Gympie and Sunshine Coast QRIDA area manager Cynthia Godden on 4182 1816 or email cynthia.godden@qrida.qld.gov.au.

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