For weeks, Fiona Phillips has been asking the government to reveal exactly how their $2 billion National Bushfire Recovery Fund is being spent and how locals can access these funds to get the support they need.
However, in Senate Estimates yesterday, the truth was finally revealed when the Morrison Government’s National Bushfire Recovery Fund was shown not to exist.
Yesterday’s Finance and Public Administration Committee Estimates hearing was told the $2 billion fund has never actually been created:
Senator WATT: “Can you point me to where this national bushfire recovery fund is in the Portfolio Additional Estimates Statements? I've had a look and I can't find it…
Ms Bradshaw: The $2 billion fund is a notional fund…
Senator WONG: Could I ask this way: can you just confirm that there is no additional appropriation in the additional estimates statement for this portfolio for the $2 billion?
Mr Colvin: Correct.”
It was also revealed yesterday that only five Special Disasters Loans for farmers and small businesses had been approved.
Member for Gilmore, Fiona Phillips has expressed her complete disgust that the government continues to fail people of the South Coast as they try to recover from the bushfires.
“I have been speaking with so many local farmers, small businesses and individuals who are struggling to cope, who are crying out for help, and the Morrison Government continues to fail them,”
“People are telling me they are drawing down on their pensions just to pay their bills, they are putting off staff, they are at the end of their tether,” she said.
Mrs Phillips said it was simply not good enough that the government is dragging their feet when so many local businesses have already begun to close and hundreds of workers are now without jobs.
“We need help now and the government needs to urgently act to address the mess they have made of their bushfire response,” Fiona Phillips said.
Earlier in the day, Fiona Phillips shared the stories of local people struggling to access support since the fires to highlight the need for increased spending from the fund. A copy of this speech can be found here.