Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has announced a $1000 disaster recovery payment will be available to flood victims from Thursday, ahead of him seeing first-hand the impacts of the natural disaster across NSW.
Mr Albanese said every adult severely impacted in 23 local government areas — which were declared natural disaster zones on Monday — would be eligible for the payment.
Every child impacted within those areas will also have access to a $400 payment from 12pm on Thursday.
“This still remains a dangerous situation and we need to respond appropriately,” Mr Albanese said.
“I am very pleased that the Commonwealth is co-operating so well with the NSW Government… This is the quickest these payments have ever been approved.”
The funding is in addition to the initial assistance committed by the Federal and State governments on Monday.
NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet confirmed 108 evacuation orders were in place, and more than 85,000 residents were affected by the floods — that’s up from 50,000 the day before.
Overnight, there were about 1000 requests for assistance and 21 flood rescues.
The Federal Government has committed 250 defence personnel to assist with disaster efforts.
Of that, 100 are on the ground with a further 150 to arrive on Thursday, who will also help with the clean-up.
A third helicopter has also been provided to assist in flood rescues.
“Our commitment from a State level and being here with the Commonwealth today is that we’ll be with you every step of the way,” Mr Perrottet said.
“We know there’s been challenges. We know it’s been an incredibly tough two years, but we will get through this just like we’ve got through every one of these natural disasters in the past.”
The Prime Minister, Mr Perrottet and Emergency Management Minister Murray Watt had briefings on the severe storms and flooding from NSW SES Commissioner Carlene York early on Wednesday morning.
They will now hit the ground to meet with flood victims and witness the devastation.
Mr Watt said those impacted would have access to the disaster recovery payment “as quickly as possible”.
“The aim is to get this money into people’s pockets as quickly as possible,” he said.
“These payments are 100 per cent Federally-funded and run.”
Mr Albanese said his government was “looking at long-term solutions” to avoid the weather events.
“My government has changed Australia’s position on climate change from day one. For example, what we know is that Australia has always been subject to floods, bushfires,” Mr Albanese said.
“But we know that the science told us that if we continued to not take action, globally on climate change, then these events, extreme weather events, would be more often and more intense. And what we’re seeing, unfortunately, is that play out.”