NQ MP calls for Parliament to be suspended
KATTER'S Australian Party MP Nick Dametto has sensationally called on the State Government to suspend parliament this week to focus on the flood recovery in North Queensland.
The Hinchinbrook MP said he believed politicians' time should be "far better spent" on the ground helping flood affected areas, instead of the first sitting week of parliament for 2019.
Mr Dametto sent letters to Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and LNP leader Deb Frecklington requesting the week of parliament, due to commence on Tuesday, be suspended.
"The process of parliament is very important and in my opinion, when parliament is in session you need to be focused on that solely. I just can't see how government ministers and MPs playing their part to co-ordinate this recovery could possibly do both effectively," he said.
KAP leader Robbie Katter yesterday announced he would not be travelling to Brisbane to sit in parliament due to the "crisis" in his North west electorate of Traeger.
But Townsville MP Scott Stewart said he would be attending parliament as the recovery effort was best left to the "experts".
"I think the best people to be co-ordinating the recovery are the various Government departments who are experts in that kind of work," he said.
"There are several key issues here, one is the insurance companies, the speed of being able to lodge claims, get them processed, and clarity on the definition of flood damage.
"The other is people who weren't insured, what happens to them now.
"We're seeing lots of people who are just helping in any way shape or form they can and that will continue."
Mr Stewart said he would fly to Brisbane on Monday night after attending a Local Disaster Management Group meeting.
Communities Minister Coralee O'Rourke said more than 27,000 people in flood-affected areas had benefited from Emergency Hardship Assistance grants, totalling more than $4.85 million.
"These grants of $180 per person, up to $900 for a family of five or more, help cover the costs of essential items such as food, clothing and accommodation immediately after this type of disaster," she said.
"There is still plenty of time for people impacted by flooding in affected areas to apply for grants, so I urge any residents who have experienced difficulty in accessing financial and other support to please reach out to us via the Community Recovery Hotline."
Mrs O'Rourke said the Government now had about 690 staff working on the community recovery operation across the state.
"We also have teams of Ready Reserves working across five community recovery hubs, in pop-up hubs and doing outreach.
"Outreach has been occurring in areas such as Idalia, Railway Estate, Mundingburra, Oonoonba, Rosslea and West End to extend face-to-face support to people who are doing it tough."