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NOT A CENT SPENT FROM $4.7 BILLION DISASTER FUND

October 26, 2021

SENATOR MURRAY WATT
SHADOW MINISTER FOR DISASTER AND EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT
LABOR SENATOR FOR QUEENSLAND


NOT A CENT SPENT FROM $4.7 BILLION DISASTER FUND

It is now clear the Morrison-Joyce Government has not spent a single cent on disaster resilience or recovery projects from its Emergency Response Fund, which has now grown to $4.7 billion.

During Senate Estimates last night, officials from the National Recovery and Resilience Agency were asked whether any money had been spent from the two-year-old fund.

The response: ‘At this point, no money has flowed.’

The Prime Minister needs to explain to Australians why he has misled communities and failed to safeguard them from the impending disaster season.

The ERF was created in 2019 – with Labor’s support - to fund up to $200 million in natural disaster recovery and resilience per financial year.

Only $50 million has even been committed to date and none of that has yet been provided to grant recipients.

Instead, the ERF has become Scott Morrison’s cash cow, earning the Government around $726 million dollars in interest over the past two years. That is 14 times more than the funds committed to date, let alone spent.

The ERF could have been used to build cyclone shelters, evacuation centres, fire breaks and flood levees right across Australia.

But once again, we approach another disaster season with nothing built, no jobs created and no communities protected. With Scott Morrison, it’s always too little, too late.

Even if some of the projects are funded soon, NRRA officials have conceded that there’s little to no chance they will be completed before the flood season hits in coming months. This will be the third consecutive disaster season that the ERF has not been used to keep Australians safe.

The Morrison-Joyce Government has yet again made a big announcement but completely failed to deliver. Yet again, we see more spin from Scott Morrison, but no action.

We can only hope this latest failure doesn’t have a disastrous effect on vulnerable communities this disaster season.

TUESDAY, 26 OCTOBER 2021

A FAIR GO FOR AUSTRALIA