Wednesday, 30 March 2022
Questions without Notice
New South Wales: Floods
BOWEN () (): My question as to the Prime Minister. After the recent devastating floods, New South Wales Nationals MP Geoff Provest said,
there's a real venom out there directed at the prime minister that he doesn't understand what's occurring on the ground. This is like a remake of the bushfires some two years ago.
You just have to drive around the area to talk to the people to see they've lost everything.
The federal government is disconnected with the good people of Australia and we're paying the price for it here … I think they should hang their heads in shame.
As New South Wales suffers more serious flooding, why does the Prime Minister always do too little, too late?
I don't share the views of Mr Provest. And the support that the government has provided through the Australian defence forces—right now there are 3,280 Australian Defence Force members in the Northern Rivers, there to support people as right now they go through the unthinkable trauma of facing yet another flood, in a matter of just a number of weeks. In the seven local government areas that have been affected by these floods, the federal government has already made payments of $211,649,893.52. That is in a matter of weeks—delivering much-needed cash and income support for people who've been devastated by these floods. In total across New South Wales, some $2.1 billion, including these investments, has been allocated to support the people of New South Wales who are affected by these floods. Almost $1 billion has also been made available to support those impacted by the floods in South-East Queensland, including the investments we are making with the Queensland government.
The rebuilding process will be a big task, and I thank again the member for Page, who I have no doubt that, rather than being here, would like to be back in his electorate, standing alongside his constituents, as I am sure the member for Richmond also would.
An honourable member: She's there!
If she's there, I commend her for being there, and I'm sure the member the Page would very much like to be there. I would cast no aspersions on a member of this place for being there or being here. I think that's very important. We are going to continue to stand by the people of the Northern Rivers, of South-East Queensland, of the Hawkesbury, all of which have been devastated by floods, but none more so than those in the Northern Rivers. And the response we've made to get the Australian Defence Force—after the floods hit, in the Northern Rivers, on that Sunday night, on Monday, by lunchtime, the Australian defence forces were winching people off roofs. They moved fast to get in there and help people and to ensure that they were carrying people to safety. I met one of those chopper pilots when I went there, and I spent time with the defence forces who had been assisting those in that local community—the dangers that they encountered.
And they weren't the only ones I visited. I wasn't going to put cameras in people's faces; I went and sat with them in their homes, on their farms, in their businesses, and I listened carefully to the sort of support they needed.
The Leader of the Opposition is barking across the table. What that demonstrates is we've got a Leader of the Labor Party who is very happy to— (Time expired)