House debates

Monday, 15 February 2021

Statements by Members

Eden-Monaro Electorate: Tumbatrek

1:45 pm

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

Thank you. I rise today fresh from a 9.5-kilometre walk through the both beautiful and traumatised landscape of the Snowy Valleys. Tumbatrek was the brainchild of the late Deputy Prime Minister Tim Fischer. On and off since 1985, hundreds of people have gathered each year to walk and talk with all levels of government and share their ideas for our community. I thank the current Deputy Prime Minister, Michael McCormack, for entrusting me with Mr Fischer's walking stick.

Better telecommunications was a major talking point as we weaved in and out of towering gums over the weekend. Tumbarumba and surrounds, like many communities in the mighty Eden-Monaro, found itself cut off from the world during the darkest days of our Black Summer bushfires. The sense of isolation is now a deep part of the community's trauma. The Morrison government says it has committed $2 billion to bushfire recovery and that helping Australians recover is a national priority—good words but, sadly, hollow words for the people I spoke with at Tumbatrek. Of the more than $27 million those opposite have committed to strengthening telecommunications against natural disasters, just $100,000 has been spent. Fourteen months on from the worst natural disaster this country has witnessed, this government has spent less than 0.36 per cent of the allocated budget. Burnt-out communities I represent need these practicalities, and we will continue to fight for them—all photo ops and no follow-up. (Time expired)