After months of urging the Palaszczuk Government to prioritise environmental damage assessments, Federal Member for Capricornia Michelle Landry has welcomed confirmation that the Commonwealth Government will cost-share an additional $37.6 million in exceptional disaster funding.
“The funding includes approval of an additional $20 million Environmental Recovery Package, on top of the $15 million already granted to clean-up beaches, recreational parks, rivers and waterways following Cyclone Debbie,” Ms Landry said.
“I have publicly and privately expressed to the Palaszczuk Government the urgent need to focus on environmental recovery before the start of the wet season, and am glad that they have finally heeded the call.
“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 that on a visit to the Pioneer Valley last month, the frustration of farmers was bringing them to breaking point.
“This will be a great relief for our primary producers who have been at wits end waiting for news on the clean-up of river beds,” she said.
“On August 1 I attended a meeting in Mackay with producers, industry leaders and State Government representatives where the Member for Mirani tried to pull the wool over everyone’s eyes and put blame on the federal government.
“The facts were put on the table and everyone quickly realised that the State Government had sorely neglected our producers in pursuit of projects that were never eligible.
“I wrote to the Queensland Government urging them to get their priorities right and start submitting assessments to help our producers and local governments.
“I was relieved to hear that at the beginning of this month, the state government finally submitted a request for an additional $20 million to fix environmental damage.
“I particularly wish to thank the Minister for Justice Michael Keenan and his staff for the fast approval times.
“To our producers and farmers, I’m sorry that you have been used as pawns in Palaszczuk’s media game, but rest assured we will keep fighting for you.”
The federal government has funded every cent requested as part of the environmental package, as well as funding up to 75 per cent of the damage bill, which is 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.”
Information on disaster assistance available for this natural disaster can be found on the Australian Government’s Disaster Assist website at: https://www.disasterassist.gov.au/ and the Queensland Government’s Disaster management website at http://www.disaster.qld.gov.au/