The Morrison Government will provide almost $33 million in next week’s budget for new weather radars, school funding support and direct financial assistance for isolated families, following this year’s devastating floods in North Queensland.
The measures will provide assistance to families recovering from the floods and help mitigate future impacts.
Deputy Prime Minister and Nationals’ Leader Michael McCormack said the much-needed investment was something the community called for following the recent floods.
“Having met with the community in the days following the floods, I heard firsthand how important this project was for the people and communities of North West Queensland,” Mr McCormack said.
“I was amazed by the strength and resilience of those people and communities – especially the many who farmers who had lost so much and yet had their neighbours and friends in mind when sharing their stories. This is a vital investment for them and their communities and I am proud to have played a role in helping it come to fruition.”
Minister for the Environment Melissa Price, said two new weather radars will be installed in the Maxwelton and Charters Towers-Hughenden regions to fill the radar coverage gap between Mount Isa and Townsville, and new rain gauges will also be installed in the upper Burdekin region.
“These will enable the Bureau of Meteorology to provide more accurate and effective flood advice and help farmers mitigate impacts by moving livestock or mobile infrastructure to higher ground in advance, where possible,” Minister Price said.
“They are part of a $28 million weather monitoring allocation covering the installation of four new weather radars in Queensland, including two at Taroom and Oakey, and the relocation of an existing radar in Northern NSW.
“We’ve been right behind communities across North Queensland since the floods and these investments show we’re in this for the long haul.
The Morrison Government will provide $4 million to assist Townsville’s non-government schools supporting regional students and boarders who have been impacted by the floods with funds to support the needs of individual schools.
Minister for Education, Dan Tehan, said there were more than 17,000 students enrolled at 43 non-government schools in areas impacted by the recent flooding.
“I was in Townsville recently and Phil Thompson insisted that I meet with local school principals to hear firsthand how school communities had been devastated by the floods,” Minister Tehan said.
“All the principals, at state and non-government schools, were doing an incredible job supporting their students, teachers and communities.
“We are helping flood-affected schools in North Queensland continue to provide a top-quality education while the city gets back on its feet.”
The Minister for Families and Social Services, Paul Fletcher said that the Budget would also include $800,000 to support isolated families from 11 regions*.
“For children of families hit hardest by the floods it is important that their education doesn’t suffer as a result,” Minister Fletcher said.
“That’s why the Morrison Government is providing $1,000 to families of AIC (Assistance for Isolated Children) and ABSTUDY recipients to help them with the continuing cost of education. Around 550 families are expected to receive the payment and will have 28 days to apply.”
*Burdekin Shire Council; Burke Shire Council; Carpentaria Shire Council; Cloncurry Shire Council; Douglas Shire Council; Flinders Shire Council; Hinchinbrook Shire Council; McKinlay Shire Council; Richmond Shire Council; Townsville City Council; Winton Shire Council.