It is unbelievable senators James Paterson and Paul Scarr have decided to lecture thousands of bushfire-affected Australians on “personal responsibility” after the devastation we saw across Australia last summer.
Last night, the Senate Finance and Public Administration References Committee handed down its interim report into the devastation of the Black Summer bushfires.
The Coalition senators have used their dissenting report to the interim report to reference cutting the rates of the disaster funding.
Their logic? Because it could dissuade people from taking “personal responsibility” and taking out insurance policies.
According to Senator Paterson and Senator Scarr’s dissenting report;
1.31 Coalition Senators disagree with recommendation 4, noting that the Productivity Commission Report into Natural Disaster Funding Arrangements recommended lowering rates of Disaster Recovery Payments and the Disaster Recovery allowance. There is a fine line between supporting Australians in crisis and inadvertently providing a disincentive for insurance and personal responsibility.
Quotes attributable to Susan Templeman, Member for Macquarie (who lost her home to a bushfire in 2013) –
“Let me make it clear to these Liberal senators: When your house burns down, you have absolutely nothing but the clothes you’re standing in. You need to go out and buy socks and jocks, bras and undies, a toothbrush and pyjamas.
How dare they suggest that for the sake of $1000 someone might willingly step aside and let their house be burnt down, it’s simply insulting. To say that it is a disincentive to insure just shows how out of touch these Liberal senators are. They don’t have a clue about what it’s like to suffer real hardship, and quite frankly it sounds like they just don’t care.”
Quotes attributable to Fiona Phillips, Member for Gilmore –
“This is utterly offensive to the hundreds of people on the South Coast who lost their homes in the summer’s bushfires. $1,000 when you have lost absolutely everything is barely a drop in the ocean – even local charities provide more help than this.
“Perhaps instead of making excuses and deflecting blame, the Government should actually come to the South Coast and meet with local impacted families to see the reality they are still facing. Victim blaming is not the answer and our community deserves better.”
Quotes attributable to Kristy McBain, Member for Eden-Monaro –
“I hear from bushfire victims across Eden-Monaro every day who are still struggling to re-build their lives after the devastating Black Summer.
For Coalition senators to suggest that increasing disaster payments to bushfire victims acts as an insurance disincentive is a complete slap in the face to the thousands of people in my electorate who are desperate for help.
The ability to afford insurance is an issue in its own right – and these comments are a hurtful and ignorant attempt by this government to shirk its responsibility to bushfire victims.”