Ms LEY (Farrer—Deputy Leader of the Opposition) (13:54)
I rise to ask those opposite a question: how would you feel if you had $1 million in the bank but you couldn’t spend it? That’s exactly the situation facing one of the rural councils in my electorate of Farrer.
Carrathool shire, in the New South Wales northern Riverina, has the cash ready to go, paid out of the joint funding agreement between the federal and state governments, to help local councils recover from the 2022 flooding events, which impacted the majority of my electorate.
Indeed, this may be a problem not just for the good folk of Carrathool but for all of Farrer and up to 50 local government areas across New South Wales.
The Commonwealth has paid our share through the Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements. This was confirmed in January of this year. The hold-up on having those funds cleared seems to sit somewhere between the New South Wales Office of Local Government and their new Reconstruction Authority, but when questions are asked, ‘Why the delay?’ all we get is crickets.
In the case of Carrathool, most of the money will be used to replace ageing stormwater gates at Hillston, preventing water from the Lachlan River backing up into the town’s stormwater drains.
It’s been six months since the money arrived. One week from now, we’ll hit the first anniversary of the flooding disaster which enveloped so much of the state. The Minns government must sort out this ridiculous red tape gridlock today.