The Prime Minister must immediately respond to allegations that his Government misused Bureau of Meteorology data to pork-barrel one of its own electorates at the expense of electorates more in need of drought funding.
The allocation of Drought Communities Program funding to Moyne Shire Council, where elected council representatives say the funding is not needed, was defended by both the Prime Minister and his Drought Minister yesterday. But the Prime Minister has been left red-faced by revelations that the Deputy Prime Minister’s Department used the wrong Bureau of Meteorology rainfall data to justify the Moyne grant.
Given an electorate held by the Coalition benefitted at the expense of Labor-held seats such as Hunter, Eden Monaro and Gilmore, the Prime Minister needs to reassure the community there has been no systemic pork barrelling.
He also needs to explain why neighbouring Shires like Muswellbrook and Singleton in NSW have been treated differently while facing similar climatic conditions.
For six years the Government’s ad hoc, inadequate and piecemeal response to the drought has been left wanting. Anger in the rural communities is understandably on the rise.
Scott Morrison must both respond to the Moyne Shire controversy and release the report of the Drought Coordinator Major General Stephen Day.