Gladstone Mayor Matt Burnett.
Gladstone Mayor Matt Burnett. Brenda Strong

Mayor labels "un-Australian" $1.3b recovery funds withheld

MAYOR Matt Burnett has labelled the Federal Government's decision to withhold $1.3 billion in Queensland recovery payments and not reimburse the state for the Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangement payments "un-Australian", "outrageous" and "unfair".

Although Gladstone Regional Council has already been reimbursed by the State Government - to the tune of $73.2 million - for the money it spent on flood-related reconstruction works since 2011, this latest decision puts future payments at risk.

"It's outrageous because when we have a natural disaster in Queensland, and they happen more often than not, we rely on the Federal and State Governments to prop up the costs because ratepayers can't afford to cover them all," Cr Burnett said.

Read more: Disaster relief delay could dent state budget

The Local Government Association of Queensland and the State Government are calling on the Coalition and the ALP to give our region a fair go by reversing a decision on the allocation of more than $1.3 billion in Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangement payments.

Under the NDRRA program, the Commonwealth contributes 75% of the funds needed by councils to help their regions recover from natural disasters.

The state and territory governments pay the rest.

The 2015-16 allocation was to be paid to the Queensland Government by June 30.

However, the payment was split in two and delayed for 12 and 24 months because the Turnbull Government had concerns over the "eligibility" of some claims.



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