HAVING spent a lifetime in a government-funded organisation I am well aware of the need for accountability.
The public purse is not a bottomless pit and it deserves to be treated with respect.
Having said that the Queensland Reconstruction Authority acknowledges there are concerns about differing grant, loan and wage assistance provisions operating at this time as compared to immediately after Cyclone Larry.
In 2007, grants for primary producers and small businesses changed from non-NDRRA Centrelink administration to NDRRA grants.
The new NDRRA arrangements require a higher proportion of the public funds provided for relief payments to be supported by evidence of expenditure, as opposed to what happened in 2006 after Cyclone Larry.
In short, following Cyclone Yasi, there is increased rigour in accessing assistance packages.
Grants of up to $25,000 and concessional or exceptional loans from $250,000 to $650,000 are on offer.
It might be frustrating but it’s fair that there be increased rigour - it is after all taxpayer’s money.
And I believe even more so knowing that from July, most taxpayers will pay between $1 and $5 a week in extra income tax as part of the flood levee, to help fund the nation’s disaster responses.
Taxpayers are entitled to have confidence that those responsible for dispersing such public moneys have rigorous processes in place.
Through everyone’s reconstruction actions - be they NDRRA grants to producers, reconstruction funds to councils, or the distribution of donated goods - we must and we will be upholding fairness and value for money requirements.
As an aside the authority has now despatched $406 million in advance funding to 51 councils.
This was done by April 8.
Our original plan was to have this done by June 30, but we have pushed hard to get this money out the door as quickly as we could so it could quickly begin circulating through local economies.
A final issue of concern for me recently has been the performance by some insurance companies.
The rumours and innuendo of poor service have been boiling over but it is difficult for me to represent community needs if I am armed with only anecdotal evidence.
Please let me know the facts of your situation if you believe that that your insurance company has failed you.
Particularly, I’m keen to know of companies that have taken an unreasonable amount of time between conducting an assessment and providing a determination of a claim.
One senior industry representative advised me that home insurance claims not involving flood damage should be determined within two weeks of the assessment being completed.
“The rumours and innuendo of poor service have been boiling over... please let me know the facts... if you believe your insurance company has failed you.”
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