The funds put up by the Federal Government are an insult to the people suffering flooding, writes Col Jennings.
How insensitive can Scott Morrison get – to visit the people of the Northern Rivers of NSW and offer a flood relief package of over $350 million and on the next day release the news that his Government would increase the Australian Defence Forces funding to the tune of $38 billion over a period of twenty years.
The national environmental disaster emergencies, including drought, fires, floods and hurricanes that have occurred during the reign of Prime Minister Scott Morrison have grown levels never seen in Australia. Yet, procrastination, stinginess, insensitivity to human suffering and absolutely blocked and confused thinking has permeated the minds of the Prime Minister and Defence Minister.
For the Government to deal with the flood disaster in NSW and Queensland, the Government should invest $8 to $10 billion dollars.
Even if The Morrison Government allocated Federal Funding for Flood Relief of a billion dollars in NSW and Queensland it still would fall well short of the mark. What do I base this assumption on? In 2015 I released a book The Politics of Deceit (mainly on climate change worldwide) and on pages 51 to 54 I addressed the growing natural disaster impacts occurring in Australia from 1965 to 2014.
During that period the incidence and cost of natural disasters doubled every fifteen years based on CSIRO, the UN Intergovernmental Panel Report on Climate Change and other reports leading up to 2014.
In the last eight years, the incidence and cost of natural disasters in Australia and throughout most of the world have almost doubled. Scientists and environmentalists are particularly concerned with the high winds and hurricanes that now have gone to a category four level (over 200 kilometres).
To show how paltry the Morrison Government offer to the people of Australia is for floods alone, here is some further information.
The cost of disaster damage during the period 1999 to 2014 was $14.34 billion and these are just ten of the major natural disasters from that period. These natural disasters listed below give an indication of the cost of various disasters during that time period:
- The 1999 Sydney Hail Storm. Repair cost: $1.2 billion;
- The 2003 Canberra Bushfires. Repair cost: $250 million;
- Cyclone Larry in Queensland. Repair cost: $1 billion;
- 2007 Newcastle and Gippsland Floods. Repair cost: $1.18 billion;
- 2008 Gap Storm in Brisbane. Repair cost: $ 355 million;
- The 2009 Black Saturday Fires, Victoria. Repair cost: $4.4 billion;
- The 2010 Melbourne Storm. Repair cost: $1.04 billion;
- 2010/11 Qld. Floods & Cyclone Tasi. Repair cost: $3.18 billion;
- 2013 NSW, Vic. & Tasie Bushfires. Repair cost: $238 million;
- The 2014 Brisbane Storm. Repair cost: $1 billion;
In 2015 there were two cyclones on the one day, one in Queensland and one in Arnhem Land which cost billions of dollars.
With the increase in bushfires and floods more ferocious than ever in recent years, the incidence and costs for insurance companies have risen and many people nationwide have been unable to afford the new premiums. Instead of more forward planning, recent governments federally and at state level have procrastinated more and paid less of the damages.
With natural disasters on the increase and SES workers being over-worked and tired the stress levels of voluntary workers has also increased.
The threat of war or conflict abroad is not nearly as destabilising as the impact of climate change and sadly this current Government is ramping up the threat to our security by deflecting our attention from the immediate impact of their foolishness and inaction.
The Prime Minister’s visit to Lismore and other cities predictably angered the people of the north for obvious reasons. There are still many climate deniers and procrastinators in the Coalition ranks, but the real distress of those impacted by floods was the offer of payments from our Federal Government. The amount offered was an insult to most Australians.
Globally natural disasters have increased remarkably in severity and frequency in the last 20 years. Even back in 2010 alone there were 385 disasters that killed 297,000 people worldwide, impacted 217 million lives and cost the global economy large amounts of money. Until we address the huge disparity between the super-rich and the poor of the world, the money used for human need and comfort will be syphoned off for unnecessary items and more war games by the rich.
We have until 2030 to repair and cleanse our planet, let us vote accordingly and choose peace, not war.
Mahatma Gandhi once said:
“There is a time coming when those who are in a mad rush today of multiplying their wants vainly thinking they add to the real substance, real knowledge of the world, will retrace their steps and say: 'What have we done'?”
Col Jennings is a writer.
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