Flood-affected residents of Western Australia will be offered grants of up to $20,000 to help with the cost of repairs and the replacement of essential items.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese made the announcement as he touched down in Broome on Monday with his Emergency Management Minister Murray Watt, WA Premier Mark McGowan, and his Emergency Services Minister Stephen Dawson.
Speaking to reporters, he confirmed two grants of up to $10,000 each will be available to those in affected areas such as Fitzroy Crossing.
“The government that I’m proud to lead will stand with you if you are facing a natural disaster no matter where you are in Australia,” the Prime Minister told reporters in the Kimberley.
Mr Albanese also announced that the Australian Defence Force will aid in the recovery effort, including help from 200 personnel and eight aircraft.
Affected communities will be able to access grants through the Western Australian Department of Communities.
“They’re actively getting the processes up and running, including intending to send people out to Fitzroy Crossing in some of the affected communities to assist people to apply for grants,” Emergency Management Minister said.
“We want to make this system as easy as possible for people and not bury them in paperwork.”
The federal government is also allowing flood victims to access 13 weeks worth of the Jobseeker payment if they are unable to work due to floods “either because the roads are cut off or the business that they work in is damaged”.
Mr Albanese acknowledged the huge cost of the WA floods, as well as other unprecedented natural disasters faced by Australians in the past 12 months.
“There’s been an enormous cost to the budget of natural disasters over the seven months in which I’ve had the honour of serving as Prime Minister now into five states have suffered major natural disasters, and this is a major event, one in 100 year event,” he said.
“And the people on the ground and here in emergency services as well, who’ve lived in this community for a very long period of time say that this is unprecedented and when you go and look first-hand, at the damage that was done, for example, to the bridges and the roads, you see the power of this, this water and the difference that it’s make what is extraordinary is that there isn’t a greater human cost.
“You can rebuild roads, you can rebuild houses. You can of course rebuild lives, and we need to I think it is quite extraordinary that there has not been a more extreme human outcome as well.
Meanwhile, a pub in Fitzroy Crossing has destroyed all of its alcohol after being targeted by looters.
The owners of the historic Crossing Inn took to their Facebook page on Sunday, shaming the vandals who have taken advantage of the flood emergency to score some free booze.
“The stolen alcohol was submerged in flood waters (including sewer water, deceased animals etc) which wouldn‘t make for enjoyable drinking we would think?!” said the Crossing Inn on their post.
“We have made the decision to DESTROY ALL ALCOHOL kept on site,” said the post, noting it was done for community safety. “We are saddened to say that Inn will be closed for months while we plan for the future.”