Opinion Pieces

Check out opinion pieces that Murray Watt has written.

LABOR’S PLAN FOR DISASTER READINESS

January 26, 2022

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


LABOR’S PLAN FOR DISASTER READINESS

Central Queenslanders are often in the firing line when it comes to natural disasters. 

Intense cyclones, storms, flash flooding and bushfires regularly hit the region, including in the current disaster season.

We’ve become experts at preparing our homes and evacuation plans for storm season. We’d expect Prime Minister Scott Morrison and his LNP members to do the same.

You’d assume they’d be more prepared for disaster seasons, given the tragedy of Black Summer. You’d think the Prime Minister would want to get ahead of things, given what happened when he headed off to Hawaii and told Australians he didn’t hold a hose.

Instead, all we’ve seen is more big announcements that don’t get delivered. 

For nearly three years, Scott Morrison and his local MPs have sat on a $4.7 billion Emergency Response Fund that hasn’t built a flood levee, cyclone shelter or fire break. It has, however, helped the Prime Minister’s budget bottom line, earning him over $750 million in interest.

Central Queenslanders shouldn’t have to wait for the next fire, flood or cyclone before their Federal Government steps up. 

That’s why Anthony Albanese and Labor have released a comprehensive plan to get our country disaster ready.

An Albanese Labor Government will spend up to $200 million dollars every year on disaster preparation and mitigation projects.

It will fund flood levees, cyclone shelters, evacuation centres, fire breaks and telecommunication improvements across the nation.

Where possible, that funding will be matched by state and local governments, meaning up to $400 million dollars will be invested each year each year, to keep Australians safe.

These investments will literally save lives and homes, not to mention the taxpayers’ funds that have to be spent on recovery and repairs when disasters hit.

Australians are the best disaster responders in the world. They should be backed up by a Federal Government that plans ahead and does its bit, to keep us all safe.

We shouldn’t have to pay the price for a Prime Minister who’s always slow to act. We shouldn’t be put at risk by a Prime Minister who doesn’t deliver on his promises.

With another disaster season underway, it’s time this Prime Minister and his local MPs stepped up – Central Queensland lives and livelihoods depend on it.

This opinion piece was first published in CQ Today on Wednesday, 26 January 2022.

A FAIR GO FOR AUSTRALIA