THURSDAY, 6 FEBRUARY 2020
SUBJECT: Bushfire recovery.
SUSAN TEMPLEMAN, MEMBER FOR MACQUARIE: Look, I came to Parliament representing the fire affected communities of the Blue Mountains and Hawkesbury this week. Hoping that we would see some progress on recovery and hoping that we would see this government take responsibility for its slow response. All we saw yesterday was a Prime Minister who continues to ignore what’s really happening on the ground. He refuses to accept responsibility for not having stepped up fast enough to support our communities. While we’re here in Canberra I’m getting phone calls and emails from people desperate for assistance. They have been fire affected for up to three months yet they are been told that the big headline promises are not going to roll through to them. So they are looking for small amounts of assistance but they are being told they are not fire affected enough. Basically what we are seeing - the marketing plan is not being met on the facts on the ground. And people are feeling really let down. My small business community is feeling desperate. It needs to see a big tourism campaign rollout. We were promised that. Yet nothing is rolling out and they have got businesses really on the edge. So far this week the Prime Minister has been nothing but a disappointment.
JOURNALIST: So two billion dollars was promised though to be spent on the fire recovery. What would you do differently though?
TEMPLEMAN: Right now small businesses need something fast to tide them over. The concessional loans guidelines were announced this week and the very first response I had from somebody was that it asks for security for an up to $50,000 loan. These are little businesses run by a 22 year old who does not have a house to mortgage. All he needs is a bit of assistance to get him through some really difficult times that he just had and that are still coming. So we need some money to flow through without too many strings attached. What we are seeing are criteria that is just too hard for people to access. If your business didn’t catch on fire it’s really difficult to get this sort of assistance that’s meant.
JOURNALIST: So do reckon do you this inquiry is into the sports grant program is overshadowing the bushfire recovery?
TEMPLEMAN: They’re all important things. What’s really important is that this government is accountable for the decisions that it makes. And that it takes responsibility when it does make a mistake and there have been plenty of those. We really need to see a Prime Minister who willing to debate things in the Parliament. Not run away from it. Not try and use spin just to cover it up and say hey nothing to see hear. This is what this place is about. Holding the Government to account and I’ll certainly being doing that on behalf of my bushfire affected communities.
Authorised by Paul Erickson, ALP, Canberra.