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Bligh eyes $100,000 cut-off for relief recipients

QUEENSLAND Premier Anna Bligh has acknowledged widespread “confusion” in the community over how money raised from the flood appeal will be distributed.

Ms Bligh said today she hoped the second round of payments from the appeal funds would be made available to flood victims with an annual income of up to $100,000, but this would depend on how much money was ultimately raised.

Means testing on flood relief payments has come under fire in recent days, with the state opposition attacking a $48,400 eligibility limit for couples seeking a $5000 state taxpayer-funded grant to home owners to restore essential utilities.

The first payments from the $168 million floods appeal fund – $2000 for adults and $1000 for children who were directly affected – will not be means tested and will start arriving in bank accounts this week.

However, Ms Bligh said an income cut-off would probably be needed for the next round of payments and the exact level would depend on how much money was ultimately raised.

“The Victorian bushfire appeal had a means test. Cyclone Larry’s appeal had a means test. And the trigger was around the $100,000 income mark. That’s where I would hope we would land,” she said.

A decision on means testing for the second round of appeal fund payments would be made in coming weeks, she said.

Opposition Leader John-Paul Langbroek said $100,000 would be a good cut-off.

But he called on the government to broaden its taxpayer-funded means-tested grants, too, as many earned too much to access them.

Ms Bligh said the federal government had developed the formulas for means-tested payments, and accused the opposition leader of “causing mischief” over the issue.

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