Bushfire recovery funds should be based on need not greed
When its comes to dishing out bushfire recovery money, politicians should remain colour blind.
Labor shouldn't just see red, Liberals shouldn't just see blue, and Greens should represent every colour under the rainbow, not just green.
The Berejiklian Government is rightly having the blowtorch applied to its belly over its handling of the Bushfire Local Economic Recovery fund.
Every fair-minded person would probably assume this money is dished out fairly on a needs basis.
The neediest areas, after the horrendous 2019-20 bushfire season, are pretty obvious for everyone to see.
While plenty of infrastructure burnt down and needs to be replaced, there's also still plenty of people living in caravans and tents waiting for money to flow.
The Northern Rivers was particularly impacted in the early phase of the fires.
Back of the envelope estimates for bushfire damage in our region total over $200 million.
One of the most impacted shires was Byron, at $88.8 million, and yet to my knowledge it hasn't received any money under this scheme so far.
Now that's simply not acceptable and every resident should be jumping up and down about it as well as our elected representatives.
And by that I don't just mean Tamara Smith, but also the Coalition parliamentarians who also live in this area and call it home when it suits their agenda.
In November last year, the NSW and Federal governments jointly issued a media release outlining 71 priority bushfire recovery projects in NSW.
Projects funded in the first round included Walcha swimming pool, Macleay Valley Skydiving Adventure Park, a connected green space at Farmers Creek near Lithgow and an upgrade to Armidale and Guyra Livestock Selling Centre.
While any infrastructure spending is probably a good thing, these projects don't resemble replacing charred and blackened things for the most part, nor supporting people directly impacted by the fires, nor the support services that have helped them along the way.
Shovelling money out the door quickly should not come at the expense of due diligence.
Every dollar spent should give the most bang for the taxpayers' buck and while people remain homeless within a still blackened environment, something has gone awry.