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Hawkesbury misses out on $400 million disaster fund due to Perrottet government

Jun 9, 2023

Michael Sainsbury

The Hawkesbury has missed out on any funding under the first $400 million tranche of the Federal government’s Disaster Ready Funding in the latest blow to its recovery from fire and floods.

The region was completely ignored by the former Perrottet Liberal National Party government when it applied for funding under the scheme. Only state and territory governments could apply for funds under the scheme’s rules.

No applications for funding of any type or of any projects in the region despite the Hawkesbury-Nepean being devastated by a series of record-breaking floods that have left a trial of damage in their wakes.

The news adds to mounting funding woes for the region with no relief in sight for the collapsed riverbank at Cornwallis – known locally as Cornwallis Canyon – that dates back to 2020. The Hawkesbury City Council is waiting for funding from the state government after belatedly lodging an application in September last year.

“It’s hard to believe that the previous state government couldn’t think of a single flood or bushfire project to seek funding on for the Hawkesbury,” Federal Member for Macquarie Susan Templeman told the Hawkesbury Post.

“I don’t think we’ll ever know the reasons why – was it that they didn’t want to match the funding, was it that they had other priorities, was it that they had no specific plans for any flood-reduction or bushfire mitigation measures? I’m not going to waste time wondering,  – – and will instead work closely with the new NSW Government for future rounds.”

The news also casts a cloud over Hawkesbury State Liberal Member Robyn Preston’s ability who, as a member of the previous government, should have been in a prime position to lobby for funds for her electorate.

Questions raised as to why the Hawkesbury didn’t apply for flood funding

Federal Emergency Services Minister Murray Watt released the list of 187 successful projects June 8 saying, that Australia will be better protected and prepared for future natural disasters under Round One of the Albanese Government’s new Disaster Ready Fund.​

Funding was matched for the majority of successful projects by state, territory or local government or other delivery partners.

The funding includes building vital infrastructure like flood levees, seawalls and hazard warning systems that will help protect lives, homes, livelihoods and critical public infrastructure – but not in the Hawkesbury.

“Through the Albanese Government’s new Disaster Ready Fund, we’re investing up to $1 billion in Commonwealth funding over five years to build critical projects that will reduce disaster risk, help to reduce recovery costs and strengthen community resilience,” Watt said.

“As we continue to fund disaster recovery and specific resilience programs in areas which have suffered disasters recently, it’s critical we do more to build defences right across Australia, to better protect communities and their regional economies,” he said.

The Disaster Ready Fund replaces the former Morrison Government’s Emergency Response Fund, which failed to build a single disaster mitigation project in three years, while earning the Morrison Government over $800 million in interest.





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