Deputy Premier and Minister for Police and Emergency Services Peter Ryan has called on the Commonwealth to end delays in decision making around the provision of vital flood assistance for Victorian communities impacted by severe floods in late 2011 and throughout 2012.
Speaking in Parliament, Mr Ryan said the Commonwealth had failed to act on repeated submissions from Victoria requesting joint National Disaster Relief Recovery Arrangements (NDRRA) Category C funding approval for the state’s flood hit regions.
“Victoria has been hit by severe and repeated flood events in 2012 and so far, the Commonwealth has only approved Category C assistance in four out of 20 local government areas (LGA) (Greater Shepparton, Moira, Indigo and Towong) impacted by the February and March floods,” Mr Ryan said.
“For the remaining 16 shires, the Commonwealth has either refused eligibility or remained silent. These include Wangaratta, Campaspe, Alpine, Ballarat, Benalla, East Gippsland, Greater Bendigo, Macedon Ranges, Mansfield, Mildura, Mitchell, Mount Alexander, Murrindindi, Strathbogie, Whittlesea and Wodonga.
“We are also still waiting for a response in relation to Category C assistance for Grampians and Pyrenees LGAs for December 2011 flooding and East Gippsland, Latrobe, South Gippsland and Wellington which were the most severely affected LGAs from the June 2012 floods.
“The delays and lack of action from the Commonwealth are causing significant uncertainty in these communities, adding to what is already a very difficult and stressful recovery period.”
Mr Ryan said the Victorian Coalition Government had responded to changing requirements from the Commonwealth and moved quickly to submit more detailed information when required and now it was up to the Federal Government to come to the party.
“Literally hundreds of farming families and people in small businesses and other organisations need this help to support ongoing recovery and re-establishment efforts in these communities,” Mr Ryan said.
“NDRRA assistance is jointly funded between State and Commonwealth Governments to provide help to communities following severe disaster events.
“Under the NDRRA eligible primary producers and businesses can receive Category C grants of up to $25,000, pending sign-off from the Commonwealth.
“The Coalition Government stands ready to meet our 50 per cent share of these grants and I implore the Commonwealth Government and the responsible Minister the Attorney-General Nicola Roxon to approve these applications,” Mr Ryan said.
Media contact: Clare Siddins 0429 507 541