MP fights for Coffs flood victims
OUR disastrous floods of March 2009 where raised again in Federal Parliament yesterday.
During the first question time of the year, Federal MP Luke Hartsuyker questioned the Prime Minister as to whether the Gillard Government would exempt Coffs Coast residents – similarly affected by major flooding almost two years ago – from the Government’s proposed flood levy for affected Queensland residents.
“In Parliament today, the Prime Minister dodged my question and claimed the guidelines for the one-off payments of $1000 per adult and $400 per child were the same guidelines which were in place when John Howard was Prime Minister,” Mr Hartsuyker said late yesterday.
“These are nothing more than weasel words from Prime Minister Gillard. The Federal Labor Government had all the details relating to the devastation of the March 31, 2009, floods but refused to acknowledge they were wrong to deny payments to those affected in the Coffs Harbour, Bellingen and Nambucca shires.
“Their arrogance towards the March flood victims was confirmed when the Coffs Coast was hit by another much smaller flood in November 2009, yet cash payments were only extended to those impacted by the latter event.”
The Member for Cowper said this lack of commitment on the issue “reaffirms the hypocrisy of Federal Labor’s decision and Prime Minister Julia Gillard has just reminded us how they played politics with people’s lives in 2009”.
“In the interests of providing equity to flood victims she should offer an exemption of the flood levy to all March 31 Coffs Coast flood victims,” he said. “For local residents affected by the 2009 floods, the Government’s proposed flood levy is just another kick in the guts as they continue to rebuild their lives,” he said.