A Senate Estimates Committee has heard the National Bushfire Recovery Agency was not consulted on eligibility requirements for a recent bushfire recovery package that excluded Queanbeyan, Braidwood and several other affected communities.
Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack announced the $100 million package last month and said the funding was for regions whose economies had experienced the “brunt” of natural events such as bushfires.
A National Bushfire Recovery Agency representative told the Senate Estimates on Monday the Agency was not asked to consult on eligibility and did not know key regions had missed out.
The Local Government Areas to miss out on funding included Queanbeyan–Palerang which lost 80 homes, Snowy Valleys which lost 240 homes, and the Bega Valley, where 600 homes were lost.
A spokesperson for the Deputy Prime Minister said the Federal Government worked closely with state governments to assess each region’s existing economic resilience and ability to cope with disasters before identifying 10 priority regions to receive the funding.
“The evidence-based work with the states has also included monitoring the impact of COVID-19, using a large range of real-time data from the ABS and other sources such as payroll and employment data, alongside information from the regions themselves, to determine the areas of greatest need,” the spokesperson said.
Newly elected Labor Member for Eden-Monaro Kristy McBain said her electorate faced “real and deep” trauma from the bushfires which continued to be compounded by the Federal Government.
“To not consult with the very agency set up to support and manage renewal and recovery defies logic and sows division at a time when people need to have confidence in our leaders,” Ms McBain said.
“I say to bushfire-impacted communities – we have your back, we will continue to hold the Government to account, we will continue to fight for your fair share.”