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Emergency assistance application deadlines extended in flood-affected far-north Queensland

Jarred Cross -

Disaster support application cut-offs have been extended by four weeks for impacted people and families still coming to grips with the fallout of Tropical Cyclone Jasper in far-north Queensland.

Applications for emergency hardship assistance and essential services hardship assistance can continue to apply until Wednesday, February 7.

Deadlines were originally set for this week.

The extension applies to residents of three Aboriginal Shire Councils; Wujal Wujal, Hope Vale and Yarrabah.

Residents of Cairns Regional, Cassowary Coast, Cook Shire, Douglas Shire, Mareeba Shire, Tablelands Regional local government areas are also eligible.

The relief payments are jointly-funded by the Queensland federal governments under the Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements.

The Emergency Hardship Assistance payment allows $180 per person, up to $900 for a family of five or more for immediate needs, such as food, medical supplies and clothes.

Essential Services Hardship Assistance covers the loss of essential services at home for more than give consecutive days with $150 per person, up to $750 for a family of five or more available.

The decision, announced by Queensland Premier Steven Miles on Thursday, came at the same time a monsoon trough around the Gulf of Carpentaria threatened to bring a second wave of flooding to the region within a month.

In mid-December, flooding Tropical Cyclone Jasper destroyed homes and communities, with the air lifts carried out to evacuate the Aboriginal community Wujal Wujal, north of Cairns.

Premier Miles acknowledged many people have been unable to access support to this point, especially in remote areas "due to the scale of the disaster", with the extensions made to make sure all people impacted are given the opportunity to seek support.

"We stand shoulder to shoulder with these communities and we are determined that no one will be left out or left behind when it comes to accessing personal hardship assistance," he said.

"This is good news for isolated communities like Wujal Wujal who have faced mass evacuations and ongoing supply challenges in the wake of TC Jasper.

"We are determined to put everything we've got into helping disaster impacted Queenslanders to get back on their feet and recover as quickly as possible."

Local state member for Cook Cynthia Lui said "more time is needed to set in place all the support that is needed" given the remoteness of some communities, and obstacles put ahead of applications by effected infrastructure.

State Member for Barron River Craig Crawford said seeking assistance has not been a priority for some.

"For some residents they haven't turned their minds to hardship grants yet as they've been busy removing furniture and chasing away mould," he said.

"I encourage everyone to take the time to apply or enquire as this money can help."

Applications for larger household contents, essential services and reconnection and structural assistance packages are open until December 2025.

Personal hardship assistance grants are also available in the Gold Coast LGA and specified localities in Scenic Rim and Logan LGAs with applications closing January 31.

Applications for emergency assistance can be made through the Queensland Government website.

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