Greens MLC-elect Sue Higginson is demanding greater support for flood-ravaged communities in Northern NSW as the Prime Minister avoids talking to locals in Lismore this afternoon.
Sue Higginson has been out the front of Lismore Council Chambers this afternoon waiting for Prime Minister Scott Morrison to address angry residents and media about the lack of support given to people that have lost everything in the record-breaking 2022 floods.
Sue Higginson said, ‘The Prime Minister is set to finally declare a National Emergency in our region nine days after our community was wrecked by these climate change floods.
‘Why has it taken so long for the Government to recognise the scale of this disaster that has devastated our home? We are exhausted, many people are unwell and are working to clean up friends and neighbours properties despite having lost their own house and possessions.
‘Lismore and surrounding towns needed immediate action and yet we have been forced to wait nine days before Scott Morrison decided to turn up and claim credit for help that is coming too late for many people,”
‘This recovery will be a marathon effort, it will take weeks and months to get our community back on its feet. More importantly, our community need a government that is prepared to take action on climate change and support adaptation measures so we are all prepared for these extreme weather events that will become more frequent in the future.’
Speaking to The Echo this afternoon, Sue Higginson said, ‘It’s unbelievable. It’s just absolutely shocking that a community that almost drowned and has been devastated, came to meet their prime minister. And he did not even look at them. Instead he sent I think about 70 police officers instead.’
Are they Federal Police? ‘No, but there’s definitely police from Sydney here as well.’
What’s happening now? ‘I’m not sure whether he’s still in the building, or he left. It all got a bit messy.’
There are reports on social media this afternoon that only limited media were allowed inside. Is that true?
Sue Higginson said she saw cameras, but ‘no protesters were allowed anywhere near him…. and it wasn’t just protesters. There were people who came to tell their story. And they were not allowed to. Nobody was allowed near him.
‘No community was allowed through. They waited for hours just to talk to him. And he he did not even look at them as he drove past.’
Ms Higginson estimates there were 150-200 local people waiting to talk to the PM. ‘It was shocking that he did not come and speak to or even look at the people who were standing there who had lost their homes.
‘This is not politics. This is not how it’s done. There needs to be a different way.
‘It’s become pretty clear he was not really here to talk to the people who are affected… This was his opportunity. Yes, there were some upset people and yes, there are some angry people. But more importantly, there are people who have lost everything here and he did not address them.’
The PM is expected to make a statement imminently.