The decision to exclude some flood-hit areas from assistance was based on bad advice – not politics – the NSW Premier has said.
The NSW Premier says Scott Morrison Minister appears to be getting “bad advice” on the flood crisis as thousands of the state’s residents are told to evacuate.
Dominic Perrottet said on Friday morning there had been 23 evacuation orders issued, affecting 2388 people.
A further 1742 people have been warned evacuations could be necessary.
“What we have seen overnight and will continue to see over the course of the next few days and coming weeks is sustained and heavy rainfall and there are a number of evacuation orders and evacuation warnings in place across our state,” Mr Perrottet told reporters.
He said Sydney’s northwest, southwest and Hawkesbury-Nepean areas were at particular risk.
“There is a significant risk continuing as we have seen in place today with flash flooding and can I continue to ask people across our state to follow the instructions of the SES,” he said.
Mr Perrottet, who has previously apologised to residents who felt abandoned during the flood crisis, rejected suggestions made by opposition MPs earlier in the week that the government had “dropped the ball” and failed to protect flood victims.
The Labor MPs slammed emergency officials during a budget estimates hearing for not ensuring residents were given accurate information, timely warnings and prompt assistance.
Mr Perrottet said that criticism was “incredibly unfair” and amounted to “politicising” the disaster.
He was also asked if he thought the Prime Minister had politicised the crisis by initially excluding three council areas in a Labor-held part of the state from disaster payments, a decision that was later reversed.
“Well, I’ve said I don’t think so, I just think he’s getting bad advice,” Mr Perrottet said.
“I mean, the reality is it doesn’t matter where you live in the Northern Rivers area. If you’ve lost your home because of the floods, you should get financial support.
“You can’t discriminate based on (local government area), you should be looking at what event occurred, what are the circumstances facing people – and provide the financial support that is necessary to get people back on their feet back into their homes and get towns operating again.
“And I can’t see a reason as to why someone in Mullumbimby should be treated any different to somebody in Lismore.”
A spokeswoman for Mr Morrison previously said the three flood-affected areas – in the Labor-held seat of Richmond – initially weren’t granted the extra disaster payout because the National Recovery and Resilience Agency had not recommended they be included.
The NSW and federal governments have together paid more than $1.1bn into flood victims’ bank accounts and promised hundreds of millions more in assistance.
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