Eden-Monaro MP Kristy McBain has announced that a Labor Government would commit $200,000 to maintaining fire trails in the Snowy Valleys if elected on Saturday.
Ms McBain made the announcement at Batlow Men’s Shed on Saturday, believing it to be an appropriate place to do so given the town’s suffering in the 2019-20 Black Summer bushfires.
She’d negotiated the funding with Shadow Minister for Disaster and Emergency Management Senator Murray Watt.
“The experience you had here was pretty terrible, and we do not want a situation like that to occur here again,” she said.
She said the Snowy Valleys, and in particular Batlow, should be “first cab off the rank” in getting such help.
“This is based on community feedback that more investment is required for the maintenance of the trails,” she said.
“This project is a critical piece of infrastructure to future proof the region against the impacts of devastating natural disasters.
“The fire trails will be funded through Labor’s Disaster Ready Fund, which will revamp the Morrison Government’s failed Emergency Response Fund and invest up to $200 million per year on disaster prevention and resilience.
“Three years after it was announced, the $4.8 billion Emergency Response Fund has not spent a cent on disaster recovery and has not completed a single disaster prevention project. All it has done is earn the Morrison Government over $800 million in interest.
“Labor will put these funds to work to keep locals safe, keep properties safe and reduce the cost of repairing damage from natural disasters.”
However, Ms McBain conceded that realistically, the work would not start until next year.
When questioned about whether there would be a council administration fee, she and Snowy Valleys Deputy Mayor Trina Thomson, who was present, conceded that there would be.
Ms McBain also conceded that given the scale of what needed to be done, $200,000 was not a lot of money.
“We’ve got to make sure we make the most of it,” she said.