Govt's flood appeal contribution 'a disgrace': Clive Palmer
MINING magnate Clive Palmer has labelled the Federal Government's $1 million contribution to the Queensland Flood Appeal a "disgrace".
The outspoken businessman and lifelong Coalition supporter said the Gillard government's "woefully inadequate" donation translated to about of 20 cents per Queenslander.
He said a donation of $200 million would have been more appropriate.
"The Prime Minister's contribution to the disaster relief funding is a disgrace and it's even more disappointing considering the Deputy Prime Minister and Treasurer Wayne Swan is a Queenslander," Mr Palmer said.
"Does the Prime Minister regard Queenslanders as worthless and does Mr Swan have no regard for his fellow Queenslanders?"
A spokesman for Mr Palmer said the wealthy businessman, whose net worth was estimated by Forbes magazine to be $795 million, had made a "sizable donation" to the appeal.
Mr Palmer also predicted Labor would be wiped out in Queensland at the September 14 federal election because it had treated flood-ravaged communities with "contempt."
But an angry Treasurer Wayne Swan took to Twitter to reply to Mr Palmer's claim, pointing out the Federal Government had spent $9 billion in recent years helping Queensland rebuild in the wake of natural disasters.
As of Wednesday The Queensland Flood Appeal had raised $6.9 million, considerably short of the amount needed to help people and communities get back on their feet.
The shortfall has prompted Australian Red Cross CEO Robert Tickner to write to the nation's newspapers pleading for people to donate more money to the appeal.
"From our experience, the Australian community has always been very generous with their support for people devastated by disasters, helping them to pick themselves up and start again," Mr Tickner wrote.
"Already, many ordinary people have dug into their pockets to help Queensland's flood-affected communities by donating to the Queensland Flood Appeal 2013, for which we are very grateful.
"But much more is still needed."
It came as the Federal Government extended the Disaster Recovery Payments to people in the local government areas of Rockhampton and Somerset in Queensland and the Clarence Valley in New South Wales.
Eligible residents in these areas can claim disaster recovery payments of $1000 for each adult and $400 for each child.
The payments are already being provided to people affected by flooding in the local government areas of Bundaberg, Fraser Coast, Gladstone, Gympie, Lockyer Valley and North Burnett.
Peak horticulture organisation Growcom has welcomed the relief assistance announced by the federal and state governments to assist the Queensland agricultural recover from the floods.
Growcom chief executive officer Alex Livingstone said he expected that Category C, DIRS and one-off emergency financial assistance arrangements would be extended to growers in regions outside the five so far announced - Bundaberg, North Burnett, Fraser Coast, Gympie and Lockyer Valley.
The organisation welcomed Prime Minister Julia Gillard's announcement on Monday that clean-up and recovery grants of up to $25,000 were available for farmers.
As flood waters recede in Queensland and people begin to return home, the magnitude of the task they face is becoming clear.
As well as major towns such as Bundaberg, Rockhampton, Maryborough and Ipswich, where together thousands of people have been directly affected by the floods, it is now apparent that communities right across south-east Queensland have been devastated, some of them for the second time in as many years.
In the coming weeks and months, these people and communities will face huge challenges as they begin the long process of rebuilding their lives, properties and communities.
This will be at a time when many of them have been left emotionally and physically exhausted by the events of the past two weeks.
From our experience, the Australian community has always been very generous with their support for people devastated by disasters, helping them to pick themselves up and start again.
Already, many ordinary people have dug into their pockets to help Queensland's flood affected communities by donating to the Queensland Flood Appeal 2013, for which we are very grateful.
Several major corporations around the country have also shown their generosity and donated to the appeal, which now stands at $6.9 million, including pledges.
But much more is still needed.
Rebuilding from this devastating disaster will take a long time - years rather than months.
To ensure that these communities have the support they need for this long journey, we implore people and corporations to keep giving to the appeal.
Donors can be assured that every dollar raised will go to assist individuals, families and communities directly affected by the floods - Red Cross is not deducting any administration fee from the appeal.
The importance of these donations goes beyond money.
For people and communities affected by the floods, the support from around Australia gives them hope, and lets them know they are not alone.
- Robert Tickner, Chief Executive Officer, Australian Red Cross
How to make a donation to the appeal:
People can visit redcross.org.au to make secure online donations.
To make a donation via credit card, phone 1800 811 700.
Donations can be made across the counter at Commonwealth Bank, National Australia Bank, St George Bank, Westpac and the Bank of Queensland.
In Queensland, donations can be made at all Red Cross branches and offices.