PM shuts down Mayor on bushfire review scope change
A CALL by Mayor Jenny Hill for the devastating Townsville floods and other recent natural disasters to be investigated as part of a proposed bushfire royal commission have been all but shut down, with the Prime Minister refusing to "engage in speculation" about the potential terms of reference.
Cr Hill called on Scott Morrison to extend the scope of the proposed review to understand the reality of increasingly common severe weather events and to fix the bureaucratic red tape preventing towns from recovering quickly.
Her criticism of the joint government Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangement guidelines also elicited Herbert MP Phillip Thompson to "set the record straight", claiming the Federal Government had upheld "its end of the bargain".
The Prime Minister's office told the Townsville Bulletin it "would not engage in speculation" around potential terms of reference of the bushfire review, which still needs Cabinet's clearance, instead pointing to details previously revealed by the PM.
But the three areas of focus proposed by Mr Morrison; namely bushfire season preparations and disaster response, the implications of a changing climate, and adaptation and resilience policy, did not mention disaster recovery or DRFA guidelines.
Meanwhile, Mr Thompson asserted the standard process had been followed on the DRFA, and that the Federal Government had paid the funding it promised to the State Government, which administers the program through the Queensland Reconstruction Authority.