Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements
Member for O’Connor Rick Wilson MP says he is frustrated that local governments have been forced to call in contractors to repair flood damage that occurred in February, which is ultimately going to pass on a higher bill to the taxpayer.
Immediately after the floods Mr Wilson started lobbying for a day labour exemption to be granted in WA, which would allow local shires to use their own resources to repair flood damage and subsequently claim reimbursement under the Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements.
The NDRRA rules require local governments to outsource that work to contractors if they are to submit a claim to the Federal Government.
“The Federal Minister for Justice, Michael Keenan, had offered the previous WA Government an exemption to the day labour rule, which was declined at the time,” Mr Wilson said.
“The offer was made to every state by the Minister and Queensland was the only administration that took it up.
“Now, in the wake of a natural disaster, we’re playing catch up in WA while shires, farmers, and the wider public are trying to get back on their feet.
“We’re seeing the consequences of attempting to go through this process after the fact – it’s simply taking too long and it’s incredibly frustrating.
“The WA Government did not accept the terms of the initial day labour exemption offer that Minister Keenan put forward, but proposed a new alternative that then needed to be worked through.
“While the previous WA Government could have been on the front foot in regards to preparing for a situation like this, I’m still disappointed in the length of time it has taken to get a result for the community.
“I would have thought, in light of the devastation caused by the floods to the Great Southern and other regions, that this process could have been expedited.
“It seems there’s a lack of understanding about the urgency of the situation in O’Connor – we’re talking hundreds of millions of dollars’ damage and people’s livelihoods.”
Mr Wilson has spoken to Minister Keenan today to relay the concerns of local governments in his electorate.