Back in September the Morrison government pledged an additional $100 million in drought relief for impacted farming communities.
This would be fantastic if one of the areas offered help wasn’t a waterlogged Victorian shire.
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The extension of the drought relief package enabled an additional 13 areas to be offered financial support, bringing the total councils receiving aid to 123.
However, councillors from Moyne shire declined the significant monetary injection due to the area having quite a bit of rainfall during the spring. According to the SMH more than 50mm of rain had fallen in Port Fairy, the largest town in the shire, in September alone.
Not only was the shire not in drought, some of its farmland was flooded.
As it turns out, the Department of Infrastructure used incorrect weather data was used to determine which drought stricken communities should be granted a drought relief package.
Drought Minister David Littleproud passed the blame onto the Bureau of Meteorology in an interview with ABC local radio.
“There’s a methodology that’s put in place, that’s predicated off the Bureau of Meteorology,” said Mr Littleproud on ABC local radio.
“They drought map each shire and as at June 30, according to the Bureau of Meteorology, 62 per cent of that shire was in drought. I’ll be asking for a forensic audit by the bureau to make sure their data collection was right. But that is the science that we predicate our decisions on and it… should be predicated off the best science, and the bureau are the ones that provide that to us.”
When Prime Minister Scott Morrison was questioned about the million dollar mistake he showed no concern and offered no apology.
“If people are accusing us of helping too much they can… that’s certainly much better than the alternative,” he said.
Unfortunately, all 123 councils who were granted part of the $100 million drought package will now need to be reviewed due to the Moyne Shire error. In the meantime, perhaps Scott Morrison can encourage them to forget their troubles by watching the cricket.
Earlier this month the Australian government revealed a $1.5 billion drought relief fund. Some of this money will be used to to expand the previously-existing drought communities program, as well as set up a discretionary fund to support areas in need as needed. $10 million is also being set aside for drought relief for schools in impacted areas. This would be great if it wasn't only being given to private schools.Read more