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Some common sense on bushfire recovery, but Abbott Government still failing to act



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SENATOR THE HON DOUG CAMERON SHADOW MINISTER FOR HUMAN SERVICES SENATOR FOR NEW SOUTH WALES

MEDIA RELEASE

SOME COMMON SENSE ON BUSHFIRE RECOVERY, BUT ABBOTT GOVERNMENT STILL FAILING TO ACT

Bushfire affected communities in the Blue Mountains will welcome the long overdue decision of the New South Wales government to meet the cost of clean-up and removal of debris from bushfire affected properties.

The assistance being offered by the New South Wales government is a victory for common sense.

The time has now come for the Abbott government to demonstrate the same common sense and compassion by immediately restoring the eligibility criteria for disaster recovery payments that it so cruelly cut at the time of the Blue Mountains community’s greatest need.

The Abbott government has ruled many Blue Mountains residents ineligible for disaster recovery assistance in categories that the former government assisted in the wake of bushfires in Victoria and Tasmania.

It is an unfair and cruel ruling that has hurt many people in the Blue Mountains, and it should be immediately reversed.

The Abbott government should also deliver on the Prime Minister’s promise to provide concessional loans of up to $100,000 to Blue Mountains small businesses that have been devastated by the fires.

Tourism operators in the Blue Mountains estimate they have already lost nearly $30 million because of cancellations and visitors avoiding the area in the wake of the fires.

Tourism is the life blood of the Blue Mountains economy and assistance is desperately needed to help bolster the local economy through the approaching holiday season.

They need to know that their jobs won’t be placed in jeopardy by the double blow of the fires and inaction on the part of the Abbott government who should be taking urgent steps to support the local economy.

THURSDAY, 14 NOVEMBER 2013

MEDIA CONTACT: MARK ANDREWS 0417 024 890