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Programme 1.7: Australian Government disaster financial support payments

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The objective of this programme is to contribute to Outcome 1 by protecting and promoting the rule of law and building a safe, secure and resilient Australia. Details of financial results for administered items are provided in Portfolio Additional Estimates Statements.

Achievements contributing to programme deliverables

In 2013–14 the department improved the collection and assessment of impact data to improve its advice to government on the targeting of Commonwealth recovery assistance. The department enhanced the systematic monitoring, collection, storage and reporting of impact data during a disaster, including strengthening networks across agencies to better leverage Australian Government sources of baseline information.

Australian Government allowances and payments

In 2013–14, $1,955,009.891 was provided under the Australian Government Disaster Recovery Payment (AGDRP) to 1,697 people to assist them with their disaster recovery needs. The AGDRP was activated for two major bushfire events—the October 2013 bushfires in New South Wales and the January 2014 Parkerville bushfires in Western Australia. These events were determined to require an additional level of Commonwealth support for those who had been most severely affected by the fires. Activation of the AGDRP complements personal hardship and distress assistance delivered by the states and territories and cost-shared by the Commonwealth under Category A of the National Disaster and Relief and Recovery Arrangements. Category A personal hardship and distress assistance was activated for 35 events in 2013–14, spanning 124 local government areas.

The department also implemented the newly legislated Disaster Recovery Allowance (DRA). The DRA came into effect in October 2013 and was activated for two events—the October 2013 bushfires in New South Wales and in Queensland for tropical cyclone Ita in April 2014—with total expenditure in 2013–14 of approximately $125,098.32.2

The DRA is a short-term income support payment designed to assist employees, primary producers and sole traders who have lost income as a result of a natural disaster, thereby sustaining the local workforce to aid in local and regional economic recovery. Modelled on the ex gratia Disaster Income Recovery Subsidy, the DRA provides a permanent and administratively efficient method of providing disaster assistance to communities and complements other longer-term welfare payments such as the Newstart Allowance.

Ex gratia assistance to eligible New Zealand 'non-protected' Special Category Visa (subclass 444) holders was activated in line with AGDRP and DRA activations. Data indicates that there was approximately $14,107.71 provided in 2013–14. In addition to this, there was also approximately $499,961.02 paid in 2013–14 for the Disaster Income Recovery Subsidy which was replaced by the DRA in October 2013.3

The AGDRP, the DRA and the ex gratia payments are delivered by the Department of Human Services.

Results against key performance indicators

Table 12: Results against key performance indicator, Programme 1.7

Key performance indicator
Results
Immediate relief and recovery assistance is provided

2013–14: Achieved—trend information is not available as this is a new key performance indicator set out in the Portfolio Budget Statements

Approximately 1,697 claims for the Australian Government Disaster Recovery Payment were paid to support individuals adversely affected by major disasters.

Approximately 60 claims for Disaster Recovery Allowance were paid to provide short-term income support to individuals who experienced a loss of income as a direct result of a major disaster.

Approximately 210 claims for ex gratia assistance to eligible New Zealand citizens and Disaster Income Recovery Subsidy were paid to assist individuals recovering from a major disaster.

All ex gratia assistance was provided in a timely manner.

Administered outlays totalled $2,476,694.09.

Footnotes

1 This figure is based on the 2013–14 end of financial year report as at 15 August 2014. It includes expenditure for past financial year activations due to instances where claiming periods, and the duration of appeals processes, overlap financial years.

2 This figure is based the 2013–14 end of financial year report as at 15 August 2014, the Eastern New South Wales Bushfires (13 October 2013) Management Information data as at 2 May 2014 and Tropical Cyclone Ita (11 April 2014) Management Information data as at 01 July 2014. Please note that DRA was administered by the Department of Social Services until March 2014. As such, the department’s actual administered outlay for DRA was $7,615.47. As part of Administrative Arrangements Order changes, this appropriation was allocated to the department. This change did not come into effect until March 2014.

3 This figure is based on the 2013–14 end of financial year report as at 15 August 2014.

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