This week, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese toured the flood ravaged Kimberley region with the Minister for Emergency Management, Senator Murray Watt, and Western Australian Premier Mark McGowan announcing funding for impacted families and individuals.
Upon seeing the extent of the damage and destruction, Prime Minister Albanese committed the Commonwealth Government to providing whatever support the Western Australian Government requires to rebuild and recover as quickly as possible from the unprecedented flooding event.
Lines attributable to WA Greens Senator and Yamatji-Noongar woman, Dorinda Cox:
"There’s a huge amount of work ahead to rebuild the lives and livelihoods of the communities in the Kimberley. We must guarantee that those families who lost everything do not suffer extended periods of displacement and are able to return home and be on Country as soon as it's safe to do so.
“The individuals, families, organisations and businesses of Broome, Derby, Fitzroy Crossing and the smaller communities along the Martuwarra, must be provided all the same support and funding opportunities that other flood affected Australian communities have received.
“The Disaster Recovery Allowance of up to 13 weeks of income support is currently available to those who are eligible, but the one-off, means-tested, Disaster Recovery Payment of $1000 per adult and $400 per child remains outstanding as the Commonwealth waits for data to be released by the WA Department Fire and Emergency Services before these much needed payments can be activated. Why are these families who have lost everything and are in crisis still waiting?
“Past recovery efforts in our cyclone-prone regional areas have been slow and have unduly impacted struggling communities. With the support of the Commonwealth, the McGowan Government can capitalise on the joint Commonwealth-State Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements, to ensure an effective, long-term recovery in the Kimberley.
"Immediate support for families and small businesses is important, but the region relies heavily on the $2 billion dollar tourism industry, and we need to start planning for its recovery now as well.
"Following two tourist seasons of border closures, Broome and the Kimberley are going to need significant sector-specific stimulus funding to ensure international and domestic tourists return to the region as soon as possible.
“This flood is unprecedented in scale, but it won’t be the region’s last natural disaster. We need a policy framework that addresses climate change adaptation and mitigates loss and damage for regional and remote communities.
“The Albanese Government is committed to supporting our Pacific neighbours on the existential issue of loss and damage associated with the catastrophic effects of climate change. Now it must demonstrate that commitment to the First Peoples of the Kimberley who are impacted by a worsening climate.
“The Australian Government took a leadership role in the final days of negotiation at the COP27 in Egypt, when delegates were struggling to agree on how to fund and support poor and vulnerable nations to adapt to climate change. Now, they need to come good and start funding impacted communities in their own backyard to do the same.”