Queensland Premier Campbell Newman.
Queensland Premier Campbell Newman.

Newman claims Roxon's changes affected flood recovery funds

PREMIER Campbell Newman took to the national airwaves on Friday morning to hit out at changes the then federal Minister for Emergency Management made to flood recovery funds.

Mr Newman told Radio National that former Attorney-General Nicola Roxon made changes just before Christmas to the guidelines for the Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements.

He said Ms Roxon had moved the guidelines so recovery payments could not be sought for parks, sporting fields and other community infrastructure.

The grant guidelines previously did allow federal funding to be delivered to state government for such programs.

"Treasurer Tim Nicholls has been working with Senator Joe Ludwig over the last few days and there is a negotiation under way and it isn't resolved yet, but I'm very hopefully well get an agreement today.

"Last night the issue was discussed and we've seen a lot of damage to public infrastructure - parks and sporting fields and the changing rooms and amenities blocks, when they were damaged they were previously covered by NDRRA," he said.

Mr Newman said the new rules established before Christmas meant local councils would have to foot the bill to resurrect such infrastructure, despite the major funding shortage most council's were already under.

"Frankly we don't believe that's appropriate because the ratepayers of those local government areas would have to pay and we would hope that wouldn't happen," he said.

Mr Newman also hit out at Federal Treasurer Wayne Swan, who he previously had said did not deliver funds

.A letter sent by Mr Swan to State Treasurer Tim Nicholls early this week hit out at such claims, and was likely to reignite the political fight between he pair.

Mr Swan wrote that claims that funding had not been delivered were incorrect, pointing to the Queensland Auditor-General's own assessments that the state government had not supplied the right paperwork.

"Let me be very clear - now is not the time for political fights, now is the time for state and Commonwealth Governments to work together to help rebuild Queensland communities ravaged by floods, just as we did following the 2011 floods," Mr Swan wrote.

"In this regard, I am disappointed to first hear of your claims when a journalist called my office on Wednesday, January 30, especially as we met a number of times at EMQ in Kedron during the week working cooperatively together to respond to the unfolding Queensland floods crisis."

Mr Swan also referred to the delegation of recovery responsibility to Mr Ludwig, who has since been negotiating with the state government over the issue.

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