Commonwealth boosts disaster recovery support
Federal Member for Capricornia Michelle Landry has today welcomed the Australian Government’s announcement that in the wake of Tropical Cyclone Debbie, the Government is continuing its commitment to support Queensland communities recover from natural disasters.
The Minister for Justice Michael Keenan today announced that following the devastating impact of Tropical Cyclone Debbie, the Australian Government has agreed to reimburse eligible councils for use of their own plant and equipment when rebuilding damaged public assets such as roads, including graders, bulldozers, and excavators. This will ensure communities can rebuild as quickly as possible.
Costs associated with use of council staff for reconstruction works will also continue to be reimbursed by the Government.
“As assessment of the damage created by Ex-cyclone Debbie and the relentless rain begins, it is clear that our regions are going to need some extra support.
“The water has been as much an enemy as the wind. We’ve spoken to people who are in shock and who have lost everything.
“It will be some time until we know the full extent of the damage as access is still limited.
“Following extensive consultation with Mackay, Sarina, the Pioneer Valley and surrounds, I have been working hard with Minister Keenan to secure this exemption and ensure these costs will be eligible for reimbursement under the Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements (NDRRA),” Ms Landry said.
The Government approved similar arrangements following the devastating impacts of Cyclone Yasi and Queensland’s 2010-11 floods.
The additional financial support will be available to all states and territories, subject to them accepting the Government’s offer, for all eligible disasters that have occurred between 2013-14 and 2017-18 financial years.
As Australian taxpayers would expect, this additional financial support will be subject to audit and oversight conditions that will ensure taxpayer funds are not redirected and misused to sponsor ordinary operations of local governments.
States will be required to implement assurance arrangements to ensure that the use of local government-owned plant and equipment for eligible reconstruction works delivers greater value for money than the use of contracted plant and equipment, and using council labour will be better value than utilising external contractors.