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Media releases from the Office of Susan Templeman MP.

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GOVERNMENT EARNS $700M INTEREST ON UNSPENT EMERGENCY FUND

October 21, 2021

GOVERNMENT EARNS $700M INTEREST ON UNSPENT EMERGENCY FUND

 

A fund set up two years ago to help recovery from natural disasters has earned the Morrison Government more than $700 million in interest, but they refuse to reveal if a single cent has actually been spent, Federal Member for Macquarie Susan Templeman has said.

 

The interest payments have been piling up on the unspent $4 billion Emergency Response Fund (ERF), which was meant to provide up to $200 million per financial year to assist natural disaster recovery and resilience.

 

“$400 million from this fund should have been spent in the last two years on helping us recover from recent floods and bushfires and be better prepared for the next disaster,” Ms Templeman said.

 

“Instead of improving resilience, this fund has just accumulated interest.

 

“Mr Morrison appears to be using this fund – which was set up two years ago with Labor’s support – to improve his bottom line, rather than helping disaster-affected communities like ours.

 

“In May the Department of Home Affairs confirmed in Senate Estimates that the government expected to earn $1.2 billion in interest from the fund over the five years to June 2025.

 

“They also confirmed not one project had been funded since the ERF was established in April 2019.

 

“Now, in Questions on Notice, the government has refused to confirm whether any projects supposedly funded through the ERF’s $50 million flood mitigation program actually received any cash.

 

“So here we are, bushfire season in the Blue Mountains and Hawkesbury, and what additional resilience projects or services have been put in place to help our community through the next disaster?

 

“There will always be bushfires, and there will always be floods, and the government’s job is to put in place plans that will help people get through both.

 

“We know Mr Morrison doesn’t hold a hose, but he does hold the purse strings, and rather than stepping back he should be stepping up and spending some of this money to help our community rebuild, recover and become more resilient.”