I rise to inform Australians and this nation of the situation that is unfolding in my seat of Wright and, in particular, in the area of the Lockyer Valley. As people start to rebuild and try to regroup, they meet constant hurdles on a number of fronts, one predominantly being the frustration to do with their insurance companies of not knowing whether or not their house will meet the insurance guidelines so they are able to get back in and start rebuilding their lives. With that uncertainty then comes trying to get their financial situation in order.
I have risen to make a point in this chamber about concerns we have to do with the very generous amount of funds that have been given from all around Australia to the Queensland Premier’s Disaster Relief Appeal. This morning that fund totalled $224,927,722, an incredible amount of money which has been given passionately and generously by those all around Australia so that people on the ground could start rebuilding their lives. I also want to inform the House that, 50 days after the event of the devastation we received in our electorate on 10 January, we have still not received any funds from that appeal. My people who have been displaced are still either living in motels or staying with family members who have generously opened their hearts, because our state government does not have the capacity to take money out of one account and put it into another. It is totally unacceptable for this government to continue on in this way for 50 days. My office has made a number of phone calls—with 11 just on Friday—trying to get answers. Liaison personnel from Centrelink are at their wits’ end in trying to get answers. We have this backlog of people—from the Lockyer Valley and other disaster affected areas—who are in crisis and trying to pull their lives back together, and this is the response that we get from an incompetent state government in trying to help these people rebuild their lives. Fifty days is an unacceptable amount of time.
I also want to let people know about the services, both state and federal, that are still available on the ground. Centrelink, the Department Of Communities, Queensland Health and the Queensland Police Service are currently on the ground. It is our role as a parliament not to abandon these people, and we need to start by having government hand out a few cheques immediately. (Time expired)