Fraud charge for double dipper

A PROSERPINE woman has been charged with numerous counts of fraud after being arrested for making multiple applications for assistance grants in the wake of Cyclone Ului.

Police said the woman attended and produced paper work at more than one of the cyclone relief centres.

She was arrested last Wednesday after presenting at the Whitsunday PCYC and she will face court at a later date.

Tomorrow is the final day that the Department of Communities Disaster Relief Assistance Scheme hotline will be open for people to access the Emergent Assistance Payment.

Applications will be accepted online, by phone or fax up until 5pm tomorrow.

Disaster relief centres closed last week. Since Cyclone Ului more than 3500 Whitsunday residents have received grants totalling more than $960,000.

Regional Executive Director for the Department of Communities, Peter Ryan said more than 50 staff members were working behind the scenes to process applications, in addition to the recovery centre staff and outreach staff assessing the worst-hit properties.

“We have staff from across the state working to process applications as quickly as possible, but with so many received in a very short time, it will take a considerable effort to work through them,” Mr Ryan said.

“We have several shifts working and I would ask people to be patient, as we will continue to accept applications right up until 5pm Friday 9 April 2010.”

Mr Ryan said that grants were for people who had suffered financial hardship as a result of the cyclone.

“It’s important to remember that the emergent assistance grant is to cover essential items that need replacing, particularly food, clothing and medical supplies for people who don’t have the means to relace what they’ve lost,” he said.

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