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More government funds pledged as WA tornado claims pass 300

Federal and state government disaster assistance has been directed to a WA town after a severe storm and tornado damaged hundreds of homes, community facilities and public assets.

The Insurance Council of Australia says as of today it is aware of 324 property claims, 39 motor claims and 13 commercial claims.

State Emergency Services Minister Stephen Dawson says the May 10 event in Bunbury, in the state’s southwest, was “extremely rare”.

“It has significantly impacted more than 200 households ... For many residents the recovery journey will be a long one,” he said.

Relief is being provided through the Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements. Help has also been made available via the Premier’s Relief Payment for emergency accommodation, food, clothing and financial support.

Both governments are also working to help Bunbury cover the cost of clean-ups and repairing public assets, including a prison. 

Premier Roger Cook says his government will do whatever it can.

“I’m immensely proud of how the local Bunbury community has come together to support each other in the wake of this devastating weather event,” he said.

RAC Insurance told it had received 155 claims worth $4 million in the days after the tornado.

“We are still assessing damage but we expect repair costs will be in the millions of dollars,” a spokeswoman said, adding the high level of property damage makes it a significant event for the insurer.

Nineteen years ago, Bunbury was hit by a tornado that caused extensive damage, lifting St Patrick's Cathedral from its foundations and crushing cars in a sale yard.