Robert McClelland has suggested the government evaluate whether giving cash hand outs to flood devastated communities was better than investing the money in preventative infrastructure.
Robert McClelland has suggested the government evaluate whether giving cash hand outs to flood devastated communities was better than investing the money in preventative infrastructure. Contributed

Flood compensation needs evaluation

THE dumped federal Minister for Emergency Management has suggested the government evaluate whether giving cash hand outs to flood devastated communities was better than investing the money in preventative infrastructure.

Robert McClelland, who was demoted to the backbench earlier this year, said disaster compensation payments, including $1000 individual hand-outs, were dispersed after the floods, when there was the most media attention and politicians "wanted to be seen".

He said the government needed to look at directing that financial assistance into "preventative measures".

"One good example is last year, following the Queensland floods and cyclone Yasi, was about $840 million in these $1000 payments that went out to individuals," he said on ABC Radio recently.

"Now there was certainly a spike in consumer spending, plasma TVs and so forth, but there no spike in insurance policies or buying generators for the next event."

The Local Government Association of Queensland President Paul Bell said he agreed that the government investing in infrastructure that offered better protection from floods, fires and cyclones might lead to fewer victims.

"I think we have got to start asking why taxpayers should be forced to foot a multi-billion dollar bill for disaster recovery while governments continue to play down the fact that better investment in preparing for such events saves money," Cr Bell said.

"Robert McClelland is effectively saying we have got to start learning the real lessons that Mother Nature keeps dealing out to us."

"I can only agree."


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