Anika Wells MP's question to the Prime Minister
Ms WELLS (Lilley) (15:13): My question is to the Prime Minister. The Schlegel family in my electorate of Lilley lost their business and 90 per cent of their possessions in the February floods. They're currently living in a rental caravan with their remaining possessions in boxes. Why does the Schlegel family deserve only one-third of the Australian government disaster relief payment that a resident in New South Wales receives?
Mr MORRISON (Cook—Prime Minister) (15:14): In Queensland the government has already committed to phase 1 of the Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements on the proposal put forward to us by the Queensland government that comprise $558.5 million. It's funded fifty-fifty. We are currently working through the second phase of that program. The first wave of the program provides some $250 million in primary producer grants, $257.5 million in small-business and not-for-profit grants, sports and recreational assets, and some $32 million in $1 million grants going to the affected local government areas. On top of that, the Queensland government are providing assistance under the disaster recovery funding arrangements under categories A and B for 23 local
government areas. Personal hardship assistance is available under that program. The disaster recovery payment and the disaster recovery allowance payment are available right across all Queensland local government areas. A judgement was made by our advisers at the National Recovery and Resilience Agency that the scale of the flood in the Northern Rivers, which was a once-in-500-years flood—as difficult and challenging as the flood has been in many areas, like Hawkesbury, another area of New South Wales that was affected by the flood, or parts of Queensland, particularly up in Gympie or Maryborough. The scale of the flood compared to the scale of the flood experienced in the Northern Rivers is materially different. On the disaster recovery payment arrangements that have always been provided in all floods, in all bushfires and in all of these circumstances, the decision was taken to provide assistance above and beyond the normal responses to floods for the Northern Rivers because it was a oncein-500-years flood that was more than two metres higher than the highest flood ever experienced in the Northern Rivers. It was an inland tsunami. So we were pleased to provide. It's almost been now $1 billion in Queensland to support flood assistance and relief to households and individuals through the ADF, who did a sterling job out of the barracks there in Enoggera. I want to commend all the members for their work in supporting their communities throughout the Queensland floods. We will continue in our assessments of the further package that we're discussing with the Queensland government now. But national disasters are no place for partisan politics. They're a place for support, together, and these things should not be made a function of partisan contest.