Albanese: Govt all talk on drought
OPPOSITION leader Anthony Albanese stopped shy of backing calls from farmers for some drought stricken regions to be declared natural disaster areas, as he embarks on a two-day Queensland tour today.
Mr Albanese arrived in Stanthorpe last night and headed to Storm King Dam this morning to call for more action to be taken to address the widespread drought.
Asked if some drought affected areas should be given natural disaster status Mr Albanese said some communities were already suffering from both, including Stanthorpe which had been hit by bushfires last month.
"Quite clearly this community is suffering from natural disaster on top of the drought," he said.
"For them to suffer from that devastating fire has had a real impact on the community."
He said businesses were doing it tough after the double-blow from drought and fires.
"We're coming up to the October long weekend and, frankly, normally the motels would be full around here. They're not, because of the combination of impact of the drought as well as the fires that occurred here."
A natural disaster declaration would entitle residents and businesses to some hardship payments, depending on how it was classified.
The Opposition leader accused the government of being "big on rhetoric but its action has been too little and too late".
Mr Albanese is expected to head further north for the second day of his sojourn.
He has made more than half a dozen trips to Queensland since he became Opposition Leader and pledged to visit the state more than once a month.