Cyclone Debbie: Emergency funding held up by political fight

STRUGGLING farmers are frustrated by fighting politicians delaying emergency disaster relief cash they urgently need to recover from Cyclone Debbie.

Payouts of up to $25,000 to farmers and small businesses under Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements were yet to flow last night as Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk sent another in a string of letters to Canberra, demanding money for up to 29 council areas.

The move came after a day of extraordinary attacks, including Acting Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce accusing Ms Palaszczuk of a "pathetic" application which was the equivalent of bank fraud.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and Agriculture Minister Bill Byrne visit farmer Ross McInnes (centre) and his damaged corn crops in Harrisville.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and Agriculture Minister Bill Byrne visit farmer Ross McInnes (centre) and his damaged corn crops in Harrisville. Jono Searle

That followed Ms Palaszczuk suggesting Mr Joyce had turned his back on his home state and accusations from Opposition Leader Bill Shorten that Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull had forgotten Queenslanders while "swanning around" with billionaires in India.

A letter from Ms Palaszczuk late on Monday night requested the Commonwealth waive normal processes and pay money immediately because the extent of damage meant collecting evidence would likely take "several weeks".

It is understood state officials were assured there would be no issues and were shocked when they received a response demanding more detail late on Tuesday afternoon.

But the original application from the State Government did not provide basic details such as which council areas it was applying for funding for, prompting the attack from Mr Joyce.

Ms Palaszczuk responded with yet another letter saying Queensland would now send business cases for the most affected local governments.

Canegrowers Queensland chief executive Dan Galligan said yesterday that both sides were being "completely unhelpful".

News Corp Australia


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