Bligh promises speedier payments
FRUSTRATED Ipswich flood victims who have waited more than a month for a payment from the state’s flood appeal could now see the money sooner.
Premier Anna Bligh yesterday admitted it was taking too long to process claims and promised to speed up the process.
So far the Premier’s Disaster Relief Appeal has paid out 5000 claims for the non-means-tested, first-round payment of $2000, leaving about 13,000 claims undetermined from flood and cyclone victims.
Ipswich’s David Green, 66, said he was one of the many Ipswich residents who had their homes flooded but is still to receive the payment.
His Bundamba home was inundated in the floods and he was forced to move to the Ipswich Showgrounds evacuation centre.
“If they can speed it up now, I can’t understand why they didn’t just do it like that in the first place,” Mr Green said.
“I don’t know why it’s taken a month or longer.
“I would like to think the payment is pretty close.”
He said his Centrelink disaster funding application was processed in 20 minutes and the money in his account a day later.
Ms Bligh said she had ordered an overhaul of the processing system which would see affected residents receive their payment within 72 hours of the applications being received by Centrelink.
“I apologise to those people who are still waiting for their funds,” she said. “I’ve put in place new arrangements and I think it will start to see things move much faster.”
She said the 100 staff handling the applications were working weekends, and more staff would be put on if necessary.
Premier Bligh said the unprece- dented scale of Queensland’s flood and Cyclone Yasi disasters had posed logistical difficulties for those administering the fund.
The chairman of the appeal’s distribution committee, David Hamill, this week said he believed about one-third of claims would be refused.
He said he believed some people had made incorrect claims because they were confused, while others were trying to fraudulently access payments.
More than 17,000 applications had been received but only 7000 homes were flooded past the floorboards, a key part of the criteria.