Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 2 Hansard (6 March) . . Page.. 621 ..
MS GALLAGHER (continuing):
provides $5,000 for all households who are owner occupiers and renters in the ACT, where their homes are assessed as uninhabitable. A further $5,000 per household is available for those who did not have household contents insurance.
The appropriation amount for the relief grants is based on the information about applications and likely expenditure available at that time. It is based on around 700 applications, of which 550 will be eligible for either the first or second grant. Of course, the assessment process is continuing, so it is not possible to be precise about the amounts at this time.
Also, as members would know, the Chief Minister recently announced an external review process for unsuccessful applicants. This may result in more applications being assessed as eligible. It is estimated there will be around 100 applications for the second $5,000, for those people without contents insurance.
The appropriation includes the costs associated with the $75 per person per day grant, which is provided for under the community recovery sub-plan. The purpose of this payment was to assist the people who presented at the evacuation centres with immediate, pressing, needs for food and clothing. That assistance was provided from 19 to 23 January.
There were 1,452 applications received for immediate emergency assistance and, in total, payments of $138,000 were made. Some applications included more than one applicant. A further $7,245 was provided for food and supplies. The appropriation includes $204,000 for evacuation and recovery centres, for the set-up and running costs of the recovery centre to mid-February, when that responsibility was transferred from the Department of Education to the recovery taskforce secretariat in the Chief Minister's Department. Those costs include employee overtime and costs to host some of the community recovery events.
Again, the reaction of the public service in creating the recovery centre, which opened six days after the bushfires, was most impressive. The costs of set-up included furniture and fittings, employee overtime and allowances, office facilities, building and grounds, and the purchase of food and grocery supplies. The appropriation includes $45,000 for additional clean-up and repairs-maintenance costs not covered by insurance for those schools affected by the bushfires.
As of 3 March, $2,550 of this had been spent. This primarily related to the costs associated with Duffy Primary School for the removal of burnt trees to make the grounds safe, the erection of a fence around the Uriarra community centre, which the Department of Education still has responsibility for, and also for the burial of dead animals at the Birrigai outdoor school.
In relation to Birrigai, a representative committee has been formed to plan the relocation of the former Birrigai functions as a temporary measure. This committee consists of representatives from the AEU, the ACT Council of P&Cs, Birrigai Outdoor Education Centre, principals associations, and the Catholic Education office.
The starting date for the relocated Birrigai functions is estimated to be around the beginning of term 3, 2003. This time has been allowed to ensure that all relevant aspects