Eleventh hour Seroja funding a drop in the ocean for impacted Shires

Opposition Leader and Leader of The Nationals WA Shane Love has labelled the extra funding for Cyclone Seroja recovery as a drop in the ocean, with $9.2 million to be shared over 16 impacted Shires.

Mr Love said offering funding of $500,000 to projects for each Local Government was a slap in the face, given the entirety of the additional funds could cover the cost of public infrastructure repairs in Kalbarri alone.

“The entirety of this new funding could be used to build a cyclone-rated evacuation centre in the region, but instead the McGowan Labor Government is forcing 16 Shires to share,” Mr Love said.

“We have long called for more investment to help these Local Governments who have been doing the heavy lifting for their communities’ long-term recovery, but this extra funding is clearly not enough.

“More investment is needed for projects like local evacuation centres, improved communication networks and upgraded community infrastructure to return these towns to the vibrant places they once were.”

Mr Love said the new funding won’t help the many local residents and businesses whose homes and properties are still in disrepair, two years on from the once-in-a-century storm hitting WA’s coast.

“We know people have faced difficulty when it comes to accessing the $104.5 million package, and while this extra funding might help some Shires, many West Australians have been left in the lurch.”

Shadow Emergency Services Minister Martin Aldridge said the latest funding announcement was a desperate eleventh hour bid by the McGowan Labor Government to change the narrative about their failed

Cyclone Seroja recovery over the past two years.

“This last-minute olive branch does not excuse the reality that a massive portion of the $104.5 million promised for Cyclone Seroja recovery has never reached those in need,” Mr Aldridge said.

“Despite having two years to provide assistance to those whose homes, businesses or farms were damaged or destroyed by Cyclone Seroja, only a very small amount of grants have been approved, with a total value of less than $7 million.

“The Government also refuses to provide a transparent overview of how they have accounted for the $104.5 million or what will become of this recovery funding when it expires at the end of the financial year.

“The Opposition continues to await a reply from the Minister for Emergency Services in response to four requests for a briefing on Cyclone Seroja recovery since November 2022.”

Member for North West Central Merome Beard said it was unacceptable for families and businesses to still have homes and premises in need of repair, two years after the cyclone wreaked havoc across the State.

“Towns like Kalbarri are still waiting on vital worker accommodation to help with the recovery process, including local infrastructure to rebuild tourism in the area,” Ms Beard said.

“Residents should not be facing another peak season without vital infrastructure to support local tourism because of this Government treating regional WA as out-of-sight, out-of-mind