Prime Minister Scott Morrison has backflipped on his decision to leave Queensland flood victims to suffer and finally decided to help out — six weeks after the floods hit.
Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk wrote to Morrison on March 19, three weeks after flood waters devastated Brisbane and southern parts of the state, and asked to go halves on a $741 million relief package.
The funding was intended for home repairs as well as the voluntary buyback of damaged properties.
But true to form, Scott “Who Me?” Morrison said in a response received on Wednesday it was not his responsibility to ensure the safety of his citizens.
He said helping to fund the scheme was “outside the scope” of federal disaster recovery programs and was — wait for it — the responsibility of state and local governments. Hmm, have we heard that before?
“These programs can and should be directly funded and delivered by the Queensland government in the same way that the commonwealth fully funds significant elements of our own contribution,” Morrison wrote.
But on Thursday morning he acquiesced and said some home-brand bullshit about putting politics aside and doing what’s right.
“They want to play politics with this, I don’t want to play politics with this, I just want to make sure people are getting the support that they need,” the politician, who’s paid half a mill a year to allocate taxpayer money to stuff like this, told 4BC Radio.
“So we’ll meet that, the 50:50 cost.”
How very generous.
He also complained people were too hard on his poor widdle government because he had already committed more money to flood relief than the Queensland government had. But they have access to way more money so yeah, makes sense?
He said he’d already committed $900 million to the Queensland flood response but the key word there is “committed”.
The government announced in this year’s budget it would spend $6bn on flood recovery nationwide in the next four years if re-elected.
But people needed that money yesterday.
Flood-stricken residents have waited weeks for adequate support and for some, including international students, free temporary accommodation will soon run out. Many young people and renters have been in precarious positions and they’re still waiting for help.
Acting Queensland Premier Cameron Dick said he was pleased Morrison had “finally seen the light”.
“He’ll do the right thing by Queensland, which is what he should have always done, instead of dragging his feet, saying it is someone else’s responsibility,” Dick said.
“He had three weeks to respond to our letter.
“He’s turned around but ultimately it’s not about me, it’s about the people of Queensland and we’ll help those communities.
Tens of thousands of homes were damaged in these floods and thousands more Queenslanders were affected. Morrison won the last federal election thanks to “miracle” Queensland votes so it’s an interesting move to choose to abandon them.
He’s finally coughing up some cash now, but the damage may have been done.