Campbell Newman and Tim Nicholls mislead Queenslanders

The Queensland Government has been caught out trying to mislead Queenslanders in a disgraceful attempt to politicise Queensland’s flood recovery.

Joint Media Release

Attorney-General
Minister for Emergency Management
Special Minister of State
Minister for the Public Service and Integrity
The Hon Mark Drefus QC MP

Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry
Minister Assisting on Queensland Floods Recovery
Senator The Hon Joe Ludwig

18 April 2013

The Queensland Government has been caught out trying to mislead Queenslanders in a disgraceful attempt to politicise Queensland’s flood recovery.

The Commonwealth has invested over $9 billion in the reconstruction of Queensland due to natural disasters since 2009. In fact, we have already provided over $4 billion in advance cash to Queensland to get reconstruction underway.

Queensland Treasurer Tim Nicholls claimed today that the Commonwealth Government has not paid $725 million for flood costs. This is wrong, as per the letter Federal Treasurer Wayne Swan sent to Mr Nicholls in February.

As Treasurer Swan’s letter says, this money was paid to Queensland in May 2012.

Advance payments were made by the Commonwealth to assist Queensland with cash flow and make sure that reconstruction works were done as quickly as possible.

This was highly unusual, but the Commonwealth agreed to make early payments because of the magnitude of the disaster, with the undertaking that the Queensland Government would provide proper evidence following reconstruction.

The issue is that Queensland’s Auditor-General has refused to endorse the Mr Nicholls’ claims that the money was actually spent on reconstruction efforts. By law, the Auditor General is required to tick this off.

In fact, in assessing the claims, Queensland’s Auditor-General said:

"... my assessment was that these did not constitute sufficient and appropriate audit evidence to fully support the eligibility of claims."

The Queensland Treasurer is complaining about an acquittal process not conducted by his own auditor-general for money he has already received.

The ball is well and truly in Mr Nicholls’ court to resolve this issue. If Mr Nicholls has issues with his Auditor-General’s findings, then it must be resolved with him.

He should pick up the phone to the Auditor-General, get his paperwork in order and learn his own budget process before crying poor.

Such a cynical attempt by Mr Newman and Mr Nicholls to try to mislead Queenslanders is extremely disappointing.


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