On your own: Morrison pours cold water on helping fund Qld’s flood recovery

The Morrison Government has rejected a $741 million Queensland flood recovery package aimed at buying back flood-damaged homes and building more resilient properties.

Apr 06, 2022, updated Apr 07, 2022
Half of the nation, and 16 million people, have been affected by natural disasters this year. (Image: AAP).

Half of the nation, and 16 million people, have been affected by natural disasters this year. (Image: AAP).

The state pitched the multimillion-dollar package to give residents options to either refit or sell their damaged homes, with funding to be evenly split with the Commonwealth.

But after considering the request, Prime Minister Scott Morrison confirmed the bulk of the package had not been agreed to.

The federal government has agreed to fund 50 per cent of a $30 million portion designated for additional clean-up.

However, a government spokesperson said more than $1 billion in Commonwealth funding had already been provided to Queensland for its flood response, including disaster relief payments and income replacement.

“In the same way that the federal government fully funds disaster relief payments, the Queensland government is responsible for housing and can directly deliver home lifting, buybacks and their resilient household rebuilding program,” the spokesperson said.

Acting Premier Cameron Dick dismissed suggestions it was solely a state responsibility.

“It is not a state responsibility. Let me make it clear (that) this is an exceptional circumstances application under the disaster recovery funding arrangements,” he said on Wednesday.

“If the prime minister doesn’t see that something’s happening in the world, and we need to make our communities more disasters resilient … then he’s not paying attention.”

The package was intended to focus on the “longer-term need to increase resilience” amid the ongoing threat of natural catastrophes.

Queensland’s portion of the funding would “remain on the table” but Dick warned there would be difficult decisions to come.

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“The money just won’t go as far as we want it to,” he said.

“Give us the $371 million we need to put this program together. We are ready to go and it will make a big difference.”

The Local Government Association of Queensland also weighed in, saying the federal government’s attitude was “incredibly disheartening”.

LGAQ chief executive Alison Smith said says all levels of government needed to work together to ensure funding flows to help flood-impacted Queenslanders build back better.

“More than 4,000 homes need rebuilding and councils in flood-affected parts of the state really do need the Federal and State governments to help shoulder the load,” Smith said.

“To not have agreement reached for extra funding to flow is incredibly disheartening to the thousands of Queenslanders whose homes and businesses need to be rebuilt after a devastating and disastrous summer.

The state package includes $275 million to retrofit 5500 homes, $100 million to elevate 1000 homes and a $350 million residential buyback program.

It also includes an increase in structural assistance grants from just under $15,000 to $50,000, and another $30 million to assist local governments.

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