More delays from Labor over storm clean up supports

Labor has failed to confirm when the state government will roll out a comprehensive clean up package for Mirboo North and surrounding areas in State Parliament this week.

Gippsland Nationals MPs Danny O’Brien and Melina Bath have been pushing the Government for a “head contractor” arrangement to coordinate the massive clean-up of hard building waste, fallen timber and other green waste.

The community also needs support with dangerous trees and hanging branches, roadside and public land clearing, and other environmental and public safety issues.

Under examination from The Nationals Member for Eastern Victoria, Melina Bath in Question Time, the only commitment the Minister for Emergency Services, Jaclyn Symes would confirm was “supports would be announced throughout the week”.

Ms Bath said it’s been more than a week since the storm event wreaked havoc on Mirboo North and the surrounding Gippsland communities, yet the Allan Labor Government has not got boots on the ground.

“Residents impacted by natural disasters need clean-up assistance in the days immediately after preceding, not a politically coordinated announcement two weeks later.

“Emergency Management Victoria (EMV) which reports to the Minister has overall responsibility for coordination before, during and after major emergencies including management of consequences of an emergency – there is no excuse for lengthy delays in supports.

“Storm damage is not a new concept – any event such as the one that ripped through Mirboo North and surrounds should have immediately triggered a series automated assessments and protocols aimed at recovery.”

Mr O’Brien, who has been pressing the premier and Minister for clean-up help this week, said the Mirboo North community had virtually been going it alone for a week now.

“The failure to announce the formal clean-up and support measures in a timely manner, is now getting embarrassing.  Volunteers, South Gippsland Shire, insurance contractors and generous Gippsland businesses will have the job done before the government gets out of bed.

“The community should be receiving practical supports through the state government to aid their recovery – at the moment we have a team of volunteers filling the void of government.

“The Nationals are seeking the immediate release of the needed measures – the time for planning and discussions has passed, our community needs tangible action implemented and further delays are simply unacceptable.”