Relief cash locked up: $4b disaster fund still unspent
The federal government has been accused of dithering over the release of cash from its $4bn Emergency Response Fund after having announced the initiative 18 months ago.
But Natural Disaster and Emergency Management Minister David Littleproud said the government was already investing more than $2bn in recovery and disaster measures, while the fund's guidelines were being finalised.
Labor's spokesman for disaster and emergency management and northern Australia, Murray Watt, said the government was again failing its people and called for the fund to be "unlocked immediately" to safeguard Australians from natural disasters.
"The government announced a $4bn Emergency Response Fund for disaster recovery and mitigation in last year's budget, but 18 months on, not a single cent has been spent," Senator Watt said.
"The fund could have been used to protect communities from the cyclones, floods and fires we know are coming. It could have been used to build fire breaks, evacuation centres, flood levees and cyclone shelters to keep Australians safe.
"Instead, in 18 months, the Morrison government has failed to even call for applications for funding."
Originally published as Relief cash locked up: $4b disaster fund still unspent