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Nicholls accuses govt of withholding $725m for recovery

State Treasurer Tim Nicholls accuses the Federal Government of withholding $725 million in disaster recovery payments.
State Treasurer Tim Nicholls accuses the Federal Government of withholding $725 million in disaster recovery payments. Dave Hunt

TIT-for-tat over which government owes money to whom will not stop Queensland from putting a hand up for further funding from the Commonwealth to help farmers and rural residents facing a shattered economy.

A war of words over money owed to disaster recovery projects in the weather stricken state of Queensland ensued on Monday with the State Treasurer Tim Nicholls accusing the Federal Government of withholding $725 million in disaster recovery payments.

Comment had been sought from the Federal Government but was not received before deadline.

As the finger pointing continues, Premier Campbell Newman has announced he will go to the Commonwealth to ask for further funding for flood victims under an exceptional category in the Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements.

The Federal Government has made available $25,000 clean-up and recovery grants to small businesses, primary producers and not-for-profit organisations in Bundaberg, North Burnett, Fraser Coast, Gympie and Lockyer Valley under category C of the NDRRA.

But following a Cabinet meeting on Monday morning, Mr Newman confirmed the Queensland Government would put forward a proposal for funds for farmers, small businesses and rural residents with exceptional circumstances.

"We believe for people that have been flooded twice, particularly people on the land - farmers in rural communities that could see their economy completely tank if we don't have a proper response - we think we need to see more and we will be putting that case to the Commonwealth within hours," he said on Monday afternoon.

"There is another category, D, for these more extraordinary circumstances. Cabinet considered that matter today and we resolved that we do need to put that case (forward)."

The State Government would propose a 50-50 funding split with the Commonwealth, Mr Newman confirmed.

Mr Newman also wants a change to the NDRRA rules to make sure funding is not only available to fix flood-prone infrastructure that is damaged over and over again.

Topics:  commonwealth disaster recovery payments farmers funding tim nicholls


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