House debates

Thursday, 8 October 2020

Statements by Members

Australian Bushfires

1:39 pm

Photo of Kristy McBainKristy McBain (Eden-Monaro, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

The interim report of the Senate inquiry into the devastating 'black summer' bushfires was tabled last night. I'm in complete disbelief at the response we have seen from those opposite. The black and white of this report affirms what every member of the Eden-Monaro community already knows: that the Morrison government failed to prepare for the 2019-20 bushfire season.

The report has made 13 interim recommendations, including things like actually spending the $200 million that's been set aside for mitigation actions. Last year's funding was still with Treasury when this year's deposit dropped. The committee also recommends that the government allocate funding for a dedicated hazard reduction workforce—music to Eden-Monaro's ears. Our towns and villages once employed people to do this work but the agencies they worked for have slowly been stripped away and centralised. Care of country is critical not only to our bushfire resilience but also to our economic recovery. The pay packets that come with those jobs are an important part of local economies.

Unbelievably, the coalition senators who took part in this review have tabled a dissenting report around the review of disaster recovery payments. These are $1,000 payments you get when you are left with nothing but the clothes on your back. Senators Paterson and Scarr instead believe these payments are a disincentive to taking out insurance. How dare they suggest that for the sake of a $1,000 someone might willingly skip out on protecting their family and property? (Time expired)