Labor wants to bring back JobKeeper in areas devastated by floods and scrap taxes so businesses can get back on their feet
- NSW opposition created plan to assist flood-impacted communities’ economies
- Includes waiving government fees and payroll tax, and re-implement JobKeeper
- NSW Labor said the federal and NSW governments were too slow in response
The NSW opposition has outlined a plan for the state to rebuild and recover from the devastating floods which have left about 1,500 people in emergency accommodation and damaged or destroyed about 95,000 homes.
The federal and NSW governments were too slow to act in the immediate response and have been too slow in their support, NSW Labor said in a statement on Sunday.
The plan calls for measures to assist flood-impacted communities including waiving government fees and payroll tax, urgently requesting the federal government re-implement JobKeeper and a Northern Rivers focused tourism and spending campaign.
The NSW opposition new plan calls for measures to assist flood-impacted communities including waiving payroll tax, re-implement JobKeeper and a Northern Rivers focused tourism and spending campaign
The opposition also proposed the government make it easier for people to rebuild by getting rid of stamp duty, increasing existing structural repairs-to-homes grants, and considering buy-back schemes for homes in high-risk areas.
Labor has additionally suggested one-off payments to branches of the SES to boost their equipment and capabilities and assist their branches to update their lists of flood-prone contacts.
Of some 7,200 business grant applications, only 252 have been approved, the opposition also claimed.
The opposition also proposed the government make it easier for people to rebuild by getting rid of stamp duty, increasing existing structural repairs-to-homes grants, and considering buy-back schemes for homes in high-risk areas
The northern NSW town Lismore was devastated by floods in February and March, leaving masses of damaged properties
However, this was disputed by the government.
The rollout was being hampered by people making fraudulent claims, Service NSW chief executive Damon Rees said in a statement.
‘Service NSW is currently processing around 400 applications each day and has assessed almost 4,000 applications since applications opened on 9 March,’ Mr Rees said.
Flood victim Darren has been living in a tent in front of his home as Lismore residents continue to criticise the government’s slow flood response
‘We’re working to fast-track the assessment process even further and expect to increase our capacity to 640 applications per day from next week,’ Mr Rees said.
Mr Rees said it was ‘extremely disappointing to have already identified almost 200 cases of suspected fraud’ adding identifying these cases took time away from giving grants to people in need.
Many businesses were beginning to benefit as $3.9 million worth of funds had already been approved through the Storm Flood Disaster Recovery Small Business grants program.
‘These payments are public money that has been explicitly set aside for those who have been devastated by recent natural events and need it most,’ NSW Police State Crime Commander Assistant Commissioner Stuart Smith said.
Lismore residents held signs protesting the federal government’s flood response in March when Prime Minister Scott Morrison came to visit
Anyone exploiting the scheme can expect to be ‘prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,’ he added.
Submitting a fraudulent grant application is a criminal offence with a penalty of up to 10 years.
It comes as more heavy rainfall and thunderstorms are forecast for the Northern Rivers and Mid North Coast regions, increasing the flood risk for already saturated catchments.