Transcripts

2SM WITH RICHARD KING - FLOOD ASSISTANCE

March 17, 2022

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

E&OE TRANSCRIPT 
RADIO INTERVIEW
2SM WITH RICHARD KING
THURSDAY, 17 MARCH 2022

SUBJECTS: Scott Morrison holding up flood assistance until he stops campaigning in Perth. 

 
RICHARD KING, HOST: Senator for Queensland Murray Watt joins me on the line. Senator, good morning. 
 
MURRAY WATT, SHADOW MINISTER FOR DISASTER MANAGEMENT: G’day Richard. How are you? 
 
KING: Very well thank you. Are you outraged about the fact that some LGA’s are getting this extra funding and others aren't?
 
WATT: Yeah, we haven't been able to understand this for days Richard, where Scott Morrison has approved extra disaster assistance for the councils around Lismore which just happen to be in the National Party seat of Page, but just up the road, the Labor held seat of Richmond hasn't qualified for extra assistance when people have experienced exactly the same level of damage. And there's not one council in Queensland that has received extra assistance either. So I was pretty disturbed to see some reports last night that broke saying that in fact, the New South Wales government and the federal government have reached agreement on a package for assistance, but Scott Morrison hasn't agreed to have that announced yet. So we're all sort of wondering if he’s waiting until he gets back from WA to be on the ground with TV cameras.

KING: Look I was reading that last night and I know Catherine Cusack who I've spoken to on a number of occasions who's a New South Wales MLC Upper House member, she apparently is going to resign over this. She, a bit like yourself, is outraged over the seeming, you know, well a lot would say it's all going to a National seat, but not to any Labor seats. Richmond just up the road, as you said. None of the LGA’s in electorate have received this extra funding as I understand it, Murray.

WATT: No that's right. And having spent a lot of time in that region last week during, or just after the floods, places like Ballina, Mullumbimby, Murwillumbah, there are people there who've lost everything but they haven't qualified for the extra assistance. And I think it's pretty extraordinary to see a New South Wales Liberal MP say that she's going to quit politics because of what she calls an “unethical” approach to this distribution of funding from the Prime Minister. So you know, when you've got people on both sides of politics saying this, there must be something in it I reckon.

KING: Look, thank you very much for the call. I appreciate that. We're about to dash to the news. But look, you're of the opinion that they have nutted out something now, the Feds in association with the New South Wales Government and hopefully an announcement will be imminent sometime a little bit later this morning. That's what you think?

WATT: Well, that’s certainly what's been reported overnight. The reports were that deal has been reached and now there's a fight about where it's going to be announced and who's going to announce it. I think they’ve got to put this aside and think about the flood victims. They're the ones we should be thinking about.

KING: Look, I thought it would have been sorted out days ago, the minute it was, you know, obviously made public but the fact that some LGAs did get it and some didn't, it just seems absurd.

WATT: Absolutely. 

KING: Alright, well fingers crossed. Thanks for the call Murray. Pleasure to speak to you. 

WATT: Thanks Richard. 

ENDS

A FAIR GO FOR AUSTRALIA