Richmond MP Justine Elliot is calling on the federal government to extend additional disaster payments to the Tweed, Byron and Ballina Shires.
The exclusion of these flood-ravaged regions from assistance has been met with anger and bewilderment from many locals.
While there is a hope that these areas will be included in follow-up announcements, after further assessment, Justine Elliot has been touring the region with federal Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese and voicing her outrage on social media and television.
She said, ‘this flood has been devastating for our region, and heartbreaking.’
With thousands of people, homeless, with no food or money, she said it was ‘even more heartbreaking’ for those in her electorate to be ‘deliberately excluded’.
Help urgently needed
She said the extra disaster payments were urgently needed for the three shires, saying ‘for people who have been through so much, to have this additional kick in the guts from the Prime Minister was horrible.’
Speaking from the Tweed, Justine Elliot said many people had become homeless, with Mullumbimby and many other seriously effected areas also excluded. ‘There’s no justification,’ she said. ‘Since day one I’ve been calling for a lot more support here. We need support for individuals, households and businesses.’
Ms Elliot went on to accuse federal and state governments of ‘complete incompetence and chaos’. Speaking as a former police officer, she said she knew how lines of responsibility were supposed to work, but the result on the ground was ‘absolutely chaotic’ with residents largely left to look after one another.
She called on the Prime Minister to urgently help neglected communities in the Tweed, Byron and Ballina Shires (which he had not visited), with Deputy PM Barnaby Joyce also not managing to get any closer to the crisis-hit areas than the Gold Coast airport, so far.
Justine Elliot said the government were too slow to bring the army in, and had provided no emergency communications, with that job also being left to the community.
She said the Morrison Government needed to provide more support on the ground, and was wrong to refuse to meet locals. ‘We will not forget and we will never forgive,’ she said.
‘I think it’s really poor form that he flew in and flew out for a photo opportunity,’ she said. ‘He didn’t get out and talk to people and find out what’s really going on, and hear how their lives have been devastated.’