The Coalition announced yesterday that they would dip into their $4 billion Emergency Response Fund to pay for flood damages.
After months of criticism that the federal government was refusing to take money out of its Emergency Response Fund (ERF) because it was acquiring millions of dollars of interest, the Coalition have finally acted to support flood-effected communities in Queensland and New South Wales.
However, the government will only take $150 million from the fund, to be spread across both states.
The NSW state government also announced that they would go halves with the commonwealth with an extra $742 million for flood relief, to assist with the demolition of damaged buildings and support for affected businesses.
Small and medium sized businesses will qualify for funding if they are in one of the LGAs that were worst effected by the floods: Lismore, Ballina, Byron, Kyogle, the Richmond Valley, Clarence Valley, and Tweed.
But in classic government style, small businesses will be entitled to a maximum of 10,000 in grants, and only if they have experienced a 40% decrease in turnover, whereas the larger qualifying businesses can apply for grants of up to $200,000.
The other $150 million will be shared equally between the two states, which emergency management minister, Bridget McKenzie, said is for Queensland and NSW “to spend where they, in agreement with the Australian government, determine it is most needed”.
Good luck trying to convince Scotty that giving the money to the area’s richest businesses isn’t actually where it’s most needed.