‘Not fair’: Senator supports push for bushfire relief funding
GLADSTONE Regional Council missed out on $1 million in bushfire recovery funding, but the fight continues.
Senator for Queensland Murray Watt was in Gladstone on Friday and told The Observer he would continue to be an advocate for the region in Canberra.
Mr Watt said he had been speaking to mayor Matt Burnett about the council not receiving the funding “it deserves” which “seems to be a real problem at the moment”.
He said the area had been badly affected by bushfires over a couple of seasons, but it seemed the federal government wouldn’t provide the funding that would help the council recover and rebuild.
“I can’t understand why Gladstone’s been knocked back,” Mr Watt said.
He said the fires had big financial and mental health impacts on the region.
“It’s not fair this region isn’t getting the funding other regions are. We need the government to step up,” he said.
Mr Watt called on CQ’s federal representatives to prioritise “the things that matter” like the bushfire funding.
Federal member for Flynn Ken O’Dowd said the council had a legitimate case for bushfire relief funding and he was working with the Queensland Government and Local Government Association of Queensland to advocate for funding.
“This is an important stand to take as it could set a dangerous precedent for diaster funding into the future,” Mr O’Dowd said.
Mr Watt said the recent fires were evidence the government had to help better prepare the region for the future.
“If we’re going to be seeing more of these fires into the future, what we’re doing isn’t going to be enough,” he said.
“We’re going to need to do more for the Rural Fire services and firefighters.”