A FUNDRAISER set up by the nation's Defence Minister to support victims of the Brisbane flood has been held up as an example of the government's inadequate response to natural disasters.
Peter Dutton personally established a GoFundMe page to support people in the Pine Rivers region within his Brisbane electorate, which has raised close to $25,000.
But Mr Dutton was hit with a barrage of questions on his Facebook page, suggesting the fundraiser wouldn't be necessary if the government's response to natural disasters was sufficient.
The Australia Institute chief economist Richard Denniss pointed out former Prime Minister Julia Gillard implemented a national flood levy to help Brisbane recover from the 2010/11 floods.
"While here we have Peter Dutton proposing a GoFundMe - these are the two different approaches of government," Dr Denniss said.
"It's a complete abrogation of the role of government, particularly for the Defence Minister, the man with the single greatest capacity to marshal help at short notice, is now encouraging individuals and communities to help themselves."
Labor disaster and emergency management spokesperson Murray Watt refused to "knock anyone raising money for others", but reiterated the government had to do its job and support those in need.
"I hope Peter Dutton's not saying Queenslanders will have to fund their own recovery," Senator Watt said.
"After all, the government have a $4.8 billion disaster fund that they've never used for disaster recovery in the three years since it was created."
However, as floods also rip through NSW around the mid-north coast city of Lismore, the government has stepped in with support through the Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements, a joint-funded Commonwealth-state government program, which opened to 17 councils to help with the initial response and ongoing clean up costs.
Individual support is also available, with grants of up to $180 per person, to a maximum of $900 for a family of five or more, to people experiencing financial hardship as a result of the floods, along with disaster recovery payment of $1000 per adult and $400 per child.
Regional Australia Institute acting chief executive Kim Houghton said streamlining disaster payments and widening their eligibility was one of the best ways governments could help communities bounce back quickly.
"It might not have the political sex appeal of flood levy banks or mitigation projects, but it's really relevant," Mr Houghton said.
"Make it easier to access funding, and get it flowing fast and early. Get the money on the ground to where it needs to be and locals will know the best way to spend it."
Labor criticised the government's response to natural disasters, honing in on the $4.8 billion Emergency Response Fund, which has $200m available be spent each year; $150m on emergency response and $50m on disaster resilience.
Labor has vowed to use the full $200m allocation every year if elected.
The government has defended the fund's lack of use, pointing out it is a future, so the interest earnt is what's available to spend. It's also a "fund of last resort", reserved for when existing support programs are insufficient.
University of NSW research associate Nina Ridder, from the Climate Change Research Centre, said with each degree increase in atmospheric temperature air can hold 7pc more water vapour, which will eventually fall to the surface as rain.
"Over the past decades we have already seen an increase in the number and intensity of extreme rainfall events and we are expecting this trend to continue into the future," Dr Ridder said.
Dr Denniss said the government's inability to talk openly about climate change intervention was handcuffing its ability to effectively rollout climate adaptation projects.
"If we don't want to talk about the elephant in the room, how are we going to talk about the mess it makes?" Dr Denniss said.
"There needs to be a clear distinction between the government announcement and the shape of the policies that are actually delivered.
"There were big announcements after the Black Summer Bushfires, but we still have people who are homeless two years later."
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he did not understand the backlash to Mr Dutton's fundraiser.
"That sounds to me like someone doing their job," Mr Morrison said
"As a local member of parliament, you always look to try and harness community support for responding to major disasters, that's what our job is - to work with our communities when they're in times of stress and times of need."
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