Treasurer Tim Nicholls has been caught out falsely blaming the Federal Government for failing to pay $725 million of disaster relief to Queensland says Shadow Treasurer Curtis Pitt.

“Mr Nicholls has shamelessly attacked Prime Minister Kevin Rudd on this issue, but a new and detailed Parliamentary report, by a committee mainly comprising LNP MPs makes it clear that the real blame lies with the Newman Government,” said Mr Pitt.

The Transport, Housing and Local Government Committee report into local government audits makes it plain the Queensland Government is responsible for meeting requirements for approval of funding.

“The Auditor General clearly told the committee that it is the responsibility of the Queensland Reconstruction Authority, Queensland Treasury and Trade and the Department of Local Government to resolve this issue.

“The Treasurer’s tirade in Parliament last week, in which he accused Kevin Rudd of failing to deliver for Queensland, was in fact entirely false. There is nothing in the report which points the finger at the Federal Government.

“Mr Nicholls needs to stop playing cheap, juvenile political games with disaster recovery funding and start acting like the grown-up the Premier claims him to be,” said Mr Pitt.

“Far from letting Queenslanders down, the Commonwealth Government is investing $9 billion towards Queensland’s reconstruction and provided advance funding of more than $4 billion.

“In stark contrast the Newman Government last year cut funding and staff at the Queensland Reconstruction Authority and nearly wound it up by accident after failing to hold a single meeting of the Disaster Recovery Cabinet Committee.

“I expect Mr Nicholls to now make a full apology to Mr Rudd for falsely portraying him as a villain when it was the Newman Government’s own failings that were the stumbling block.”

In the report there is advice from the Auditor General to the Committee which states:

“The qualification primarily related to $930 million of council claims ($725 million of which is potentially claimable from the Commonwealth) that lacked the necessary documentation to allow a reliable assessment in line with the NDRRA requirements. QRA is working with Queensland Treasury and Trade to look at a process where they can go out to these councils and gather evidence for us to be able to sign off on these previous claims”. (page 15)

The report also says:

“It is clear that in order to avoid a repeat of the situation involving the disputed $725 million relating to flood-damage to roads in Queensland, it is critical that councils understand the systems, processes and controls required by the QRA and the NDRRA, as updated from time to time.”

Link to report: