Work continues on repairing the damage caused by Cyclone Marcia to Pilbeam Drive.   Photo: Chris Ison / The Morning Bulletin
Work continues on repairing the damage caused by Cyclone Marcia to Pilbeam Drive. Photo: Chris Ison / The Morning Bulletin Chris Ison ROK010816cpilbeam3

Landry says no disaster funding was withheld

UPDATE 5.30PM: CAPRICORNIA MP Michelle Landry has accused the State Government of "trying to weasel” money out of the Federal Government when it comes to natural disaster funding.

Ms Landry was responding to the Federal Government's payment of $1 billion in disaster funding, saying the Commonwealth had uncovered a further $50 million worth of ineligible claims lodged by Queensland.

"Any claims that recovery money has been withheld from Queensland are completely untrue,” she said.

"Queensland's recovery money is still budgeted for, but we need to ensure the claims are eligible before they can be reimbursed.”

Ms Landry said this came after a previous finding of $115 million in ineligible claims from Queensland.

She referred to a statement from Federal Justice Minister Michael Keenan, who said an audit showed the state had "rorted its 2009-2012 NDRRA claims”.

"Following the Commonwealth's Audit Office examination of the administration of the NDRRA, the Attorney-General's Department engaged an independent external auditor to undertake assurance activity on all state and territory financial claims yet to be acquitted by the Commonwealth,” he said.

"This included claims for Queensland for 2008-09 through to 2014-15.

"As part of the 2016-17 Budget, the Commonwealth moved Queensland's 2014-15 financial claim to the 2016-17 and 2017-18 financial years, to ensure that the funds were still budgeted for while the assurance process was underway.

"At the conclusion of the assurance process, payment of any claims to the Queensland Government that proceed will now go through ordinary budget processes.”

INITIAL: AFTER 18 months, the Federal Government has paid money for critical post-cyclone work on the Scenic Hwy and Pilbeam Dr.

Keppel MP Brittany Lauga said these disaster recovery works were funded under the Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangement, but funds from the Federal Government had been withheld.

"The Turnbull government has shown it is no friend of Central Queensland by withholding more than $1 billion in NDRRA payments to the State Government,” Ms Lauga said.

"The State Government spent this money in good faith expecting that the Federal Government would follow through on its responsibilities and obligations under the NDRRA straight away.

"Our disaster recovery claim was submitted ahead of schedule, and we were expecting to be paid the outstanding $1 billion in 2015-16, as was indicated in the Federal Mid-Year Economic Financial Outlook published in December.

"The politicisation of disaster recovery funding has been unprecedented and disgraceful.”

Ms Lauga said the Federal Government should provide some certainty for State and Local Government ahead of the next reimbursement claims due to be submitted early next year.

The Morning Bulletin has approached the Federal Government for comment.

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