12 November 2020

Over $500,000 hail damage rebates paid out as scheme wraps up

| Dominic Giannini
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Hail damage

More than 44,500 vehicles across Canberra were damaged by the hail storm on 20 January this year. Photo: ESA.

More than 7,600 rebates were handed out by the ACT Government following the devastating hail storm on 20 January this year which damaged around 44,500 vehicles in 15 minutes.

The government’s Hail Assistance and Innovation Liaison (HAIL) team has now wrapped up after paying out more than $507,000 worth of rebates to affected Canberrans.

The rebates included refunds on fees and charges to inspect damaged vehicles and register replacement vehicles. Around 2,500 applications were processed and the average Canberran received a $200 rebate.

Hail stones

The size of some of the hailstones that pelted Canberra in January 2020. Photo: Region Media.

The rebates aimed to reduce the extra costs usually associated with purchasing a new car, the new Minister for Business and Better Regulation, Tara Cheyne, said.

“It seems like a lifetime ago that we had an unprecedented storm which wreaked havoc right across our beautiful city,” she said.

“We really appreciate the efforts that the team took to really step up in a pandemic. They extended their hours so Canberrans had more opportunities to get here, get their roadworthy certificates and get back on the road.

“There was a risk-based approach that was taken where vehicles with more superficial damage were given roadworthy certificates and were able to get back on the road, but everything was done in a way that put safety first for Canberrans.”

However, an estimated 7,500 vehicles damaged in the storm were not insured.

READ ALSO Jerrabomberra and northern ACT suburbs hardest hit by January storms says NRMA

“I would encourage Canberrans to think about insurance and what they can afford, and to shop around for the best deal as well,” Minister Cheyne said.

The Access Canberra’s Vehicle Safety Standards team inspected 1,500 vehicles affected by the hail damage or replaced due to the hail damage at the Hume Motor Vehicle Inspection Station by the time the scheme closed at the end of October.

READ ALSO Windows smashed and records broken during January storm

“It was a huge task that was put before us. We looked at our systems and looked at how to make it as painless as possible for the community,” HAIL director Mick Gallon said.

“Everyone is concerned about their ability to get back on the road and stay on the road, everyone has families and things that they need to do and transport is a large part of that.

“We worked as quickly and as conscientiously as we could with the community to ensure that we could get them back on the road.”

The scheme has now ended but Minister Cheyne said any Canberran who did not hear about the rebates should get in touch with Access Canberra on 13 22 81 to have a further conversation.

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