Flood levy passes Parliament providing kick start to rebuilding process
TUE 22 MARCH 2011
Prime Minister, Attorney-General, Minister Assisting the Attorney-General on Queensland floods recovery
Prime Minister Julia Gillard, Attorney-General Robert McClelland and Minister Assisting the Attorney-General on Queensland Floods Recovery Joe Ludwig today welcomed the passage of the Commonwealth Government’s Flood and Cyclone Levy Bill through the Parliament.
The Gillard Government will now implement its $5.6 billion floods reconstruction package as a priority to help rebuild Australia after this summer’s floods and other natural disasters.
The Government’s flood levy legislation passed both houses of Parliament with the support of Senators Fielding and Xenophon, as well as MPs Tony Crook, Bob Katter, Andrew Wilkie and Adam Bandt.
The passing of this legislation is excellent news for disaster-affected communities who face the task of rebuilding local roads, rail lines, bridges and schools.
It is also another example of the Gillard Government’s ability to work with the independent Members and Senators and the Greens in the national interest to get legislation through the 43rd Parliament.
Assistance will be delivered to Queensland through the Queensland Reconstruction Authority, which will coordinate the total statewide rebuilding program.
Payments to other states will be made through the Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements (NDRRA).
Yesterday, the Attorney-General moved to strengthen the NDRRA guidelines for future disasters by issuing new guidelines to help ensure State and Territory Governments have adequate capital or insurance to fund the rebuilding of essential public infrastructure.
States and Territories have a responsibility to taxpayers to put in place cost effective insurance arrangements – for example, through commercial insurance and reinsurance or other mechanisms such as self-insurance.
Under the new arrangements tabled in Parliament, States and Territories will not be eligible to receive the maximum level of Commonwealth support unless they undergo regular assessments of their insurance arrangements by an independent specialist such as the state Auditor-General.