Aid flows for Qld's cyclone victims

Tracey Ferrier

Aid is starting to flow for families and farmers hit by Cyclone Debbie in Queensland's north.

The Queensland government says immediate hardship assistance is now available for residents in the cyclone's strike zone.

Affected families can find out more by calling the Community Recovery Hotline on 1800 173 349.

Online applications for financial help can be made at

"For those families without access to the internet or phone, we have also pre-deployed 30,000 debit cards to the region with another 15,000 in reserve and another 50,000 due end of the week," Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said.

Immediate Hardship Assistance is available for people who live or work in the damage zone, and are unable to meet immediate essential needs.

Applicants may receive $180 per person up to $900 for a family of five or more.

The federal and state governments have also announced financial help for for farmers and other businesses hit by the cyclone, including concessional rates for businesses and grants and freight subsidies for primary producers.

Queensland Rural Economic Development Minister Bill Byrne said category B assistance has also been activated based on initial damage reports, which includes concessional loans of up to $250,000 and essential working capital loans of up to $100,000.

He said sugar cane field in Proserpine, Mackay and Sarina had been flattened, and producers in the Whitsunday Regional Council area will suffer heavy winter crop losses thanks to Debbie.

The beef cattle industry has also been hit.

"At this preliminary stage, the most significant agricultural impacts are damage to horticulture crops, sugar cane fields, irrigation equipment and cane train infrastructure," he said.