I rise to inform the House today of the difficulty of a number of sectors within my seat of Wright, firstly, the mums and dads who are struggling to cope with the ever-increasing cost of living. I was elected by those mums and dads on the basis that I would fight to get more money into the pockets of the mums and dads.
Before I get onto that, I want to quickly inform the House about the Queensland Premier's Disaster Relief Fund. There is only one word in that title which aptly describes how that fund is being managed, which is 'disaster'. From the generosity of Queenslanders and Australians in this nation over $255 million has been donated by mums and dads, industry and business. Regrettably, since we first endured the heartache and the loss and the destruction as a result of the floods as far back as January, only 35 per cent—$70 million—of those funds have been disbursed. There have been some public awareness campaigns through the papers in Queensland, bringing it to the attention of the department that they need to get their act into gear and start getting some of this money out to people who are displaced from their homes but who still have to pay for mortgages on homes that are potentially 40 kilometres down a creek line or that do not exist while trying to pay rent. Their cars are gone. We lost 200 cars in the floods.
While the Premier's man who she has put in charge of that fund up there, David Hamill, is working in a volunteer capacity, I bring to the House's attention some comments he made the other day with reference to his reasoning as to why only $70 million of that fund had been dispensed. You will be shocked, as I was when I read the article, that he laid the blame fairly and squarely on the victims of the flood. I quote from the article:
GET IT RIGHT: Former Queensland Treasurer and now disaster relief fund manager David Hamill is blaming victims for the slow rollout of cash.
David Hamill yesterday insisted many created their own delays in getting cash by filling out forms incorrectly.
What a shame. In Queensland we have more than 200,000 public servants. And while this guy is still working under the auspices and directive of the Premier up there, and while he is working for nothing—he is volunteering his time—it brings me to the point that this bloke does not get it and that the government does not get it when it comes to assisting people in my electorate. In fact, it is almost comical; it is at the point where it is reminiscent of scenes of Yes, Minister and something that you would hear from Sir Humphrey.
I now come back to the mums and dads and the cost of living incurred in our area, with increasing credit card debt, fuel, household groceries and energy costs as a result of the two-speed economy. I want to quickly bring the attention of the House to the 7.2 per cent of GDP, with reference to our increasing debt. We are told in the House that our economy is one of the most envied in the advanced world. Having a peak debt of $200 billion while some short time ago we had $44 million in the bank, I can assure members that the $44 billion in the bank was a far more envied position than the $200 billion debt that we have at the moment. The interest component that we have to service on that, which I believe is around $5.5 billion a year, would build every year 183 schools at $30 million each. It would build 5,500 kilometres of road at $1 million a kilometre—that is roughly from Cairns to Melbourne and back to Brisbane. In Queensland it would build 40 new Gateway bridges every year with a construction cost of $140 million. And this government wants to take our peak debt from $200 billion to $250 billion? What a joke!