A television flood appeal has raised more than $25 million for victims in NSW and Queensland, as the prime minister defends not extending the national emergency to the sunshine state’s southeast.
The Red Cross Flood Appeal, broadcast on Australia’s three main commercial TV stations on Saturday night, surpassed its $20 million target after major donations from Australian businesses, philanthropists and state governments.
The West Australian and Victorian governments donated $2 million, while South Australia chipped in with $1 million.
ARTICLE CONTINUES AFTER THIS ADVERTISEMENT
British comedian James Corden and Australian actress Cate Blanchett were among celebrities to send messages of support, while several local acts performed for the telecast.
The cleanup continues in NSW and Queensland following the devastating floods, as more than 100 mobile home units head to ravaged communities in the former.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who toured the flooded Windsor region northwest of Sydney on Saturday, said 20 similar units had already been set up across Lismore in the state’s north.
It is estimated two in three damaged homes in that region will need to be demolished or undergo substantial repairs after the severe floods and storms this month.
“It’s going to be a long road back,” Mr Morrison said.
The Bruxner Highway has also reopened after a massive landslip near Mallanganee, about 80km west of Lismore.
It comes after a national emergency was declared in NSW late on Friday, triggering additional resources for flooded areas.
The declaration will last three months and allow the federal government to access stockpiled resources and remove red tape around welfare support.
Mr Morrison said Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk had knocked back a similar offer for her state after Ms Palaszczuk on Thursday said help had been needed a week earlier.
“When the premier tells me she doesn’t think it’s necessary, well, of course, I’m going to listen to that,” Mr Morrison said.
Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese said it was an about-face from the prime minister.
“The prime minister belatedly came and declared that it was a national emergency on Thursday, and that Queensland would be included,” he said in Brisbane on Saturday.
“One day later, he said it now no longer was a national emergency.”
Assistance has also been extended to a further 12 local government areas in NSW.
They include Cessnock, Cumberland, Dungog Shire, Goulburn Mulwaree, Lithgow, Maitland, the mid-western region in the Central Tablelands, Muswellbrook Shire, Queanbeyan-Palerang, Singleton Shire, Snowy-Monaro, and Upper Hunter Shire.
The support will be provided through the jointly funded Commonwealth-State Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements, with some regions remaining at emergency level despite waters receding in other parts of the state.
NSW Emergency Services and Flood Recovery Minister Steph Cooke said the support would extend to thousands of households, small businesses, primary producers, non-profits and councils.
© AAP 2022