Adelaide Hills short-changed bushfire recovery assistance
The Adelaide Hills is being short-changed when it comes to making a full recovery from December's Cudlee Creek Bushfire, Federal Member for Mayo Rebekha Sharkie said today.
“If the Government continues to leave Mount Barker Council out of the suite of disaster assistance promised to Australians, then it will be the ratepayers of the Mount Barker District picking up the tab to fix damaged infrastructure,” Rebekha said.
"This Council will spend more than the $1million offered by the Commonwealth to local government regions under Category D for Disaster Recovery in order to do work such as clearing dangerous roadside trees and carting stock water to fire-affected farms.
"Adelaide Hills Council, which has about 60 per cent of the fire ground within its boundaries, received the $1million but Mount Barker Council, which has 30 per cent, did not.
"I have been advocating on behalf of Mount Barker Council for weeks now and when I raised the issue in Question Time yesterday I was encouraged by the response from the Natural Disaster Minister David Littleproud.
"The Minister said the National Bushfire Recovery Co-ordinator Andrew Colvin was on a plane on his way to visit the Mount Barker Council, and others, to make sure there were no gaps in assistance, and that it was important to get an announcement out 'imminently'.
"Well that meeting happened and there was no announcement. I call on the Commonwealth and the State Government to not only listen but to act on the evidence put forward by the Mount Barker Council.
“If the Government continues to stall in classifying the Mount Barker district for Category D, when the Adelaide Hills and Kangaroo Island councils have already been promised the assistance, then Mount Barker will be unfairly disadvantaged in its recovery efforts.
“Ratepayers will have to foot the bill and there will be less council funding for other recovery efforts, including support for organisations such as Adelaide Hills Tourism to initiate tourism campaigns.
“Other than agriculture, tourism is a key industry for the Mount Barker region.
“There is enormous public goodwill out there but the feedback I have received from tourism businesses is that they have suffered a big financial hit this summer.”