$37M extra TC Debbie funding, but Qld govt wants more
AFTER months of political back and forth, the Federal Government has announced it will cost-share an additional $37.6 million in "exceptional disaster funding”.
The funding includes an additional $20 million Environmental Recovery Package, after the $15 million previously granted for beach, recreational park, rivers and waterways clean ups following Cyclone Debbie.
However, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said it was still inadequate and failed to address key projects including the South Rockhampton Flood Levee.
Capricornia MP Michelle Landry welcomed the funding, saying it was critical to focus on environmental recovery before the next wet season.
"It has been a frustrating fight and until last month, the Palaszczuk Government continued to push for new projects that were never eligible for disaster recovery funding, while the needs of our farmers and environment were pushed to the bottom of the pile,” Ms Landry said.
Ms Landry said she wrote to the State Government after a meeting with primary producers in Mackay on August 1 where they expressed frustration about the lack of news on environmental repair.
In a statement, Ms Landry said the Federal Government had funded every element requested in the environmental package and would foot up to 75% of the damage bill, expected to reach $1.1 billion.
"I urge the Queensland Government to now get on with the job of making sure this vital assistance is activated quickly to prevent further damage as we head into the wet season,” she said.
Ms Palaszczuk said the State Government had committed $110 million to long-term reconstruction and recovery projects following Debbie.
"Instead of matching our contribution, the Prime Minister offered only $29.3 million in July, and following outrage from affected communities and councils, he is now offering another $18.8 million,” she said.
"Total Federal Government funding for Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements Category D is $48.1 million - that's less than half we asked for and what's needed.”
Ms Palaszczuk said the South Rockhampton Flood Levee and all new infrastructure requirements for Bluewater Trail/Queens Park and Airlie Beach Foreshore were still without funding.
Deputy Premier and Minister responsible for the Queensland Reconstruction Authority Jackie Trad said the small increase in funding was disappointing.
"The local council projects are designed to improve resilience to natural disasters and funding was rejected by an LNP government in Canberra that just doesn't get regional Queensland.”