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Mega disaster relief fund could be on cards

A scene of absolute devastation at North Bundaberg Today. The photo was taken by NewsMail photographer Max Fleet.
A scene of absolute devastation at North Bundaberg Today. The photo was taken by NewsMail photographer Max Fleet.

A MEGA disaster relief fund to shield taxpayers from sudden levies to recoup costs after significant weather events could be discussed once the Queensland floods enter a recovery phase.

Federal Treasurer Wayne Swan would not discuss whether his government would introduce another flood levy, as it did after the 2011 Queensland floods, on Monday.

But he said a discussion about potential flood levies and a mega fund to combat an increasing number of weather events that could be linked to climate change should be had.

"We're in the emergency phase now and we have to absolutely concentrate on saving lives and saving property," he said.

"We have processes in place to deal with the recovery phase.

"It's far too early to be talking about the dollars on a piece of paper.

"I could talk a lot about extreme weather events, how they've become more frequent and what that might mean for the future of public policy but today or tomorrow isn't the time for that discussion.

"Although it's a discussion I'm very happy to have."

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott would not disclose his position should the Federal Government decide to impose another flood levy.

Mr Abbott, who was openly scathing of the flood levy proposed after the 2011 floods, said on Monday that people were facing a crisis and this was not the time to discuss his opinion.

He said "Mates help each other; they don't tax each other" at the time.

"It's certainly highly likely the current government will seek to increase taxes because that's what they always do," he said on Monday.

"It doesn't matter what the problem is, spend more, tax more is the Labor party's solution.

"Our position on the flood levy back in 2011 is well known but I really don't think today with this crisis still developing is a great time to argue the toss again."

Queensland Premier Campbell Newman said he would expect monetary support from the Federal Government to help recover from this crisis.

They all spoke at Emergency Management Queensland's headquarters on Brisbane's northside.

In New South Wales, more than 7000 people are stranded by floodwaters.

Topics:  disaster, editors picks, flooding, oswald, queensland, wayne swan



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