MPs Byrne and Landry clash over cyclone ‘blame game’

ROCKHAMPTON'S State Member Bill Byrne has slammed Federal Member for Capricornia Michelle Landry for playing "the blame game".

Mr Byrne has released a statement accusing Ms Landry of going to the media and trying to politicise the process of assistance to those impacted by Tropical Cyclone Marcia.

"Michelle Landry should be ashamed..." he said.

Earlier this week Ms Landry released a statement declaring there was no hold-up on the part of the Federal Government as to why eligible farmers and small business owners couldn't apply or access Category C assistance, and that further delay "lies firmly in the lap of the Queensland state government."

Mr Byrne's statement said Prime Minister Tony Abbott took 14 days to approve the request, but the State Government acted as quickly as possible to have assistance activated following the delays.

"The Queensland Government requested Category C assistance on 27 February with damage and assistance being so obviously evident," he said.

"Delays that Queenslanders have experienced in obtaining assistance are as a direct result of Tony Abbott's two weeks of inaction from the very beginning...if Michelle Landry had any concerns, she should have raised them with me directly rather than grandstanding in the media.

"To date, I've not had a call from Ms Landry on this matter...this is not an issue that should have been made party-political, and I think Ms Landry should consider her media statements carefully in the future."

Ms Landry declined an opportunity to respond to Mr Byrne's attack yesterday.However, a spokesman said Ms Landry stood by her comment from earlier this week.

"The Federal Government was more than pleased to assist people impacted by Cyclone Marcia by signing off on Category C assistance for the local government areas of Livingstone and Rockhampton," she said.

"Under the Commonwealth-State agreement, the criteria and eligibility rules for assistance are drawn-up and administered by the Queensland state government and it is now the state's responsibility to ensure help is directly handed out to local businesses that need it."

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