By Kristy McBain

12 November 2021

Unbelievably the Federal Government has completely disregarded bushfire and flood affected parts of Eden-Monaro in its latest natural disaster funding round.

The recently released Preparing Australian Communities grants are aimed at preparing local communities for natural disasters such as bushfires and floods, but the Snowy Monaro, Snowy Valleys, Yass Valley and Queanbeyan-Palerang local government areas are not considered bushfire risk LGAs. And despite extensive flooding hitting the region last year, not a single LGA in Eden-Monaro is considered a flood risk LGA.

Member for Eden-Monaro Kristy McBain said priority areas would receive an additional 20 points towards their application, meaning many applicants from worthy Eden-Monaro projects would be at a huge disadvantage to access up to $10 million in funding.

“Thankfully, both the Bega Valley and Eurobodalla shires have been included as bushfire priority areas, but it is more than frustrating that the ACT is considered a priority area and yet not a single one of its surrounding LGAs made the cut,” Ms McBain said.

“The Black Summer Bushfires devastated our region and while the coastal LGAs were hit hard, our inland communities also faced terrifying fires with 240 homes destroyed or severely impacted in the Snowy Valleys, almost 80 in the Queanbeyan–Palerang region and around 100 in the Snowy Monaro.

“Did they overlook us, not understand the statistics in front of them or was this a choice from the Morrison-Joyce Government. We really must question; how is the government choosing these regions? What’s the criteria?” she said.

“Since 2016 there have been 35 declared natural disaster events in the Eden-Monaro. These include the bushfires as well as severe storms and floods.

“Eden-Monaro communities are tired of being ignored by this government which seems comfortable with forcing communities to carry the burden of resilience and disaster preparedness alone.”

Grants of between $20,000 and $10 million are available under the Preparing Australian Communities - Local Stream Program. Applications open on 10 December 2021 and close on 6 January 2022.

“The timing of this grant round, over the holiday period, will also make it increasingly hard for local organisations and councils to pull together quality applications, which will again disadvantage regional communities who don’t have endless resources,” Ms McBain said.

“I want money coming to this region, and for this reason, but this grant round seems rushed. There hasn’t been proper consideration into priority regions, applications are open for less than a month over the holiday period and it hasn’t been advertised extensively.

“The Morrison-Joyce Government wants to look like it is doing the right thing for our communities, but it is clearly out of touch with our communities and has once again missed the mark.”