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Tuesday, 19 February 2019
Page: 13901

Queensland: Floods

Mr SHORTEN (MaribyrnongLeader of the Opposition) (14:27): My question is to the Prime Minister. After the terrible, devastating floods recently in Townsville and, indeed, throughout North Queensland, thousands of Australians will be making insurance claims for damage to houses and livestock and for other losses. Why won't the Prime Minister schedule extra sitting days so this parliament can debate and pass laws to force insurance companies to treat their customers fairly?

Mr MORRISON (CookPrime Minister) (14:27): There's really nowhere you won't go to try to make political points, is there? There's really nowhere this leader of the Labor Party won't go. I mean, honestly! I'll tell you what we're doing when it comes to supporting people affected by floods in North Queensland. Last night, in northern Australia, a cabinet subcommittee met to continue to ensure that the government was providing support on the ground and relief, recovery and reconstruction for the people of North Queensland. Not only have we already ensured that somewhere in the vicinity of $60 million of emergency payments were made and that the bureaucracy around those payments was removed so people could get access to those payments, and not only have we been on the ground talking directly to graziers and councils and providing a million dollars to every single council that has been effected by these disasters; we are now putting together the rebuilding plans so that these cattle graziers and other graziers can be in a position to rebuild such an important part of Australia in North Queensland. We're doing all of these things. This has been the most pressing issue that has been in front of the government since those floods hit.

But I'll tell you one thing that we've also had to deal with and have been distracted by, and that's this Leader of the Opposition coming in here and voting for a bill to weaken our border protection that will cost this country half a billion dollars in the next two years. I would have preferred to have put that money into supporting people in North Queensland. This leader of the Labor Party came in here and committed Australia to $1.4 billion to reopen detention centres to clean up his mess.