The Federal Government has backflipped on its decision not to jointly fund a second relief package for Queensland flood victims.
In a dramatic move this morning, the Prime Minister has confirmed that Canberra will come to the table and co-fund the $741 million package put forward by the State Government.
Scott Morrison made the announcement while speaking to Nine Radio, where he accused the Queensland Government of politicising the disaster.
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“I’ve spoken to my colleagues overnight, and we believe that if Queensland wants to play politics with floods before an election, well that’s up to them,” Mr Morrison said.
“But what I want to make sure is that people are getting the support they need.
“Now the request that the Queensland Government has made for this further support goes way beyond any other requests for floods of this nature in the past,” he continued.
“They are things that are the state government’s responsibility, but its pretty clear they want to play politics with this.
“I don’t want to play politics with this, I just want to make sure people that are getting the support that they need… so we will meet that 50/50 cost.”
But the Prime Minister confirmed there will be a “couple of conditions”.
“There has to be greater transparency about this,” Mr Morrison said.
“I want them to be transparent with the payments that are being made, I want them to report to the public.
“We’re now meeting two-thirds of the cost of the flood response in Queensland. We’ve already spent more directly than the state government has even committed to.”
The move comes following a war of words between the Prime Minister and Queensland Acting Premier Cameron Dick yesterday.
“This is the highest level of disrespect for Queenslanders and the highest level of disrespect for our state from the Prime Minister,” Mr Dick said after the Federal Government initially rejected the proposal.
“On the eve of the election, he’s announced that he will not be providing hope to Queensland families — Queensland families who have been smashed, time and again, by flooding and natural disasters in this state.
“Mr Morrison has made the political calculation that he does not need the votes of flood-impacted families in this state.”
As part of the new package, flood-affected residents will be given the option to retrofit, raise up or voluntarily sell back homes in high risk flooding areas, with grants of up to $50,000 and $100,000 on offer.