OPPOSITION LEADER Bill Shorten described Murwillumbah as a “little patch of paradise” that’s in urgent need of help during his tour of region today.
Mr Shorten joined Member for Richmond Justine Elliott on a visit to Murwillumbah Services Club as well as taking a walk across the Murwillumbah bridge.
“I want to congratulate Justine (MP) and the community for pushing has finally got the Turnbull Government to unlock some scarce but badly needed funds for businesses to get back on their feet,” he said.
“It is an eye opener coming to Murwillumbah, most Australians know it as a little patch of paradise, but they’ve certainly had their fair share of trouble with the terrible floods.
“What we see today is an urgent need for State Government to give the businesses who are affected a payroll tax moratorium for a number of months.
“I think we need to see a jobs package, and I’m going to write to Prime Minister Turnbull in coming days, to make sure that we don’t lose the industry and the jobs which have been so hard hit.
“I think it is also important – there is a very unseemly, ugly, stomach turning debate, where you see Barnaby Joyce arguing with State Governments about who is doing what paperwork to help the money flowing, to help victims of the flood damage.
“Enough talk, enough red tape, enough political point scoring. Let’s just unlock these modest grants, which provide farmers and small business with some desperately needed cash flow.”
“Also, I think what I have seen in Murwillumbah, it’s a reminder that we do have people affected by floods who live on the margins of our society – people who are homeless, with insecure housing. I think there is a challenge around social housing.
Mr Shorten urged holiday makers not to cancel their holidays or bookings.
“People should come here. This town is on its feet and doing well, but there has been a major economic body punch to business,” he said.
“And we need to make sure that the insurers, and the Federal Government, and the State Government are doing what they can to help business.
“And of course, there has been a lot of very poor people, who when they get hit by floods, they lose literally everything, and they shouldn’t be forgotten as the flood waters recede.”