Media Releases

Media releases from the Office of Susan Templeman MP.

Enquiries from the media should be directed to the Media Adviser via the Electorate Office on (02) 4573 8222 or via email to [email protected]

TEMPLEMAN DEMANDS FUND GUARANTEE

March 13, 2020

TEMPLEMAN DEMANDS FUND GUARANTEE

Federal Member for Macquarie Susan Templeman has demanded the Morrison Government move to guarantee funds for bushfire recovery won’t be redirected to the Covid-19 response.

 

On the same day she hosted the Shadow Ministry in her electorate (March 11), Ms Templeman was alarmed by reports the National Bushfire Recovery Agency could not guarantee recovery funding for fire affected regions would not be used in the coronavirus response.

 

“Local business owners sat down with Shadow Ministers on Wednesday in Bilpin and explained how they were still hurting from the dive in trade in the aftermath of the bushfires,” Ms Templeman said.

 

“The Shadow Ministry came out here in the first place to lead the way, put our money where our mouth is and do something practical to support struggling businesses by visiting, staying and buying their goods.

 

“We are still recovering in the Blue Mountains and Hawkesbury. We absolutely need to respond to Covid-19, but not at the expense of small business in communities like ours that are still getting back on their feet.

 

“Senate Estimates uncovered last week that the national bushfire recovery fund didn’t actually exist; that it was a “notional” fund.

 

“To now hear that the agency in charge of helping our community recover can’t actually guarantee those funds will go where they are most needed is shocking.”

 

Ms Templeman has previously called for the Morrison Government and Tourism Australia to answer questions over revelations one-third of a $76 million package to help raise the profile of bushfire-affected areas was diverted to Cairns following concerns Covid-19 would impact jobs.

 

The Cairns Post reported that the Morrison Government was set to invest $25 million into a marketing effort with a significant focus on Far North Queensland —money directed from the $76 million crisis package already announced for areas struggling in the wake of bushfires.

 

“If that story is wrong, we need to hear it and we need to hear in Parliament, because the people who are dependent on tourism in the Hawkesbury and Blue Mountains want to see that money being used to drive tourists to our region,” Ms Templeman said.

 

“We want them back. We want a full house. In fact, we need it because the small businesses, not even those directly in tourism but those who suffer the flow-on consequences when tourism numbers are down, are really hurting. The promises that have been made are not being fulfilled.”

Shadow Ministers travelled to the Blue Mountains and Hawkesbury area on March 10 in preparation for a meeting with the full shadow ministry the following day.

 

Several met at Bilpin’s Pine Orchard for breakfast before touring Hillbilly Cider and the Bilpin Fruit Bowl, where they met with local business owners operating in areas from Bilpin to Kurrajong, as well as the Lowlands.

 

“Shadow Ministers representing portfolios from tourism to small business to infrastructure were able to hear first-hand how these devastating fires not only destroyed property but have had a lasting effect on our economy because of the slow response of the recovery effort,” Ms Templeman said.

 

“These conversations will help us to keep pushing for what is really needed by small businesses and people who have suffered property losses.”

 

Mt Wilson Rural Fire Brigade Captain, Beth Raines, lost her home during the bushfires and spoke on her experience and frustrations to the full Shadow Ministry at Blue Mountains Botanic Gardens in Mt Tomah.

 

Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese and Ms Templeman also met with WIRES volunteer Morgan Philpott, who has been caring for three rescued koalas.

 

Both Mr Albanese and Ms Templeman congratulated volunteers from WIRES and other rescue services for the heartbreaking work they were doing in the wake of the fires.

 

“Too many native animals died in the tragic summer bushfire crisis. The plight of our wildlife has touched people right around the world and provoked an outpouring of financial and moral support,” Mr Albanese said.

 

“Volunteers at rescue services like WIRES are doing a great job and show Australians at their best.”

 

Ms Templeman said many local people had raised the issue of fauna recovery and protection with her office in the aftermath of the bushfires, particularly at a climate change Q&A session held with Shadow Minister for Climate Change, Mark Butler, at Wentworth Falls on March 10.

 

“I have previously supported a call by local experts for an emergency fund to allow researchers to go into the field immediately after a natural disaster to determine the effects on flora and fauna,” Ms Templeman said.

 

“The only way we can find out what the true effects of these devastating events are is to get experts into the field immediately.”

 

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