Kiwis denied flood assistance

IRATE Kiwis living in Ipswich say they are still being denied flood assistance because of their allegiance to the silver fern.

An Ipswich Hospital nurse, who did not want to be named, was without power and unable to work for four days during the flood crisis last month.

But despite living in Australia for 23 years, the Brassall resident was denied monetary assistance because she was not an Australian citizen.

The denial comes even after a government ruling last week made a 2001 legislation denying social service payments to those without Australian citizenship or permanent residency irrelevant for flood victims.

"I can't believe how I am being treated by the Australian Government," the nurse said.

"I have made numerous phone calls and taken another day off work to go to Centrelink and present them all my documents and not only did the person say I could not receive the $1000, she was rude about it.

"I pay taxes every week and while I was not as badly affected as some people, I still lost a lot of money because of the flooding.

"I have never been on a benefit and the one time I ask the Australian Government for a handout they say I get nothing."

Many Kiwis in Ipswich had complained they were ineligible for a $1000 Australian Government Disaster Recovery Payment due to the 2001 legislation.

But New Zealand Foreign Minister Murray McCully announced last week that the Australian Government had relented on those funding criteria.

But this seemed to have been lost on Centrelink when the nurse applied in person for the fund earlier this week.

Goodna residents Aaron and Kasey House, who moved to Australia six years ago, were told two weeks ago that because they were "not Australian" they were not entitled to any funding.

"I have never heard anything so racist in all my life to be told: 'Yes, you went through the same disaster as us. Yes you live over here, but we are not going to help you'," Mr House said.

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