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"Cruel and disgraceful": Andrew Gee savages his own team over funding for Jemena gas disaster

November 9, 2022

Andrew Gee. Facebook.

By Peter Holmes

Federal MP for Calare Andrew Gee has savaged three major parties - including state Nationals - over the lack of disaster funding for the Jemena gas outage.

Gee said residents and businesses across the Central West, in places including Bathurst, Lithgow, Oberon and Wallerawang, had been "hung out to dry" by the state and federal governments.

Gee said that "to unlock disaster assistance grants, the NSW government needs to put in a request to declare the event a natural disaster".

"On Tuesday, the office of the minister for emergency management stated that the federal government will not be declaring the gas emergency a natural disaster - because the NSW government isn’t requesting it."

Gee argued there should be no debate about whether disaster funding should be made available.

"Let us be clear: the pipeline rupture was directly caused by an extreme weather event – the same one that has caused all the flooding. It’s clearly all part of the same natural disaster and our residents and our businesses should be getting exactly the same level of support as other areas."

Gee said that "to deny our hardworking residents and business owners financial support during this time is a cruel and disgraceful decision by the state and federal government".

"Thousands of businesses across the region, both big and small, have been forced to reduce their operations or close their doors - and many don’t know when they’ll re-open again. Their staff are going without pay," Gee said.

"It shows that neither government is taking this emergency seriously enough."

He said families were hurting due to no fault of their own, and that the Disaster Recovery Payment and Disaster Recovery Allowance, business grants, and all other assistance, must be "put in place to help everyone affected by this emergency".

One senior National told The Orange News Examiner that they believed neither the state government nor federal government had the appetite to pay for disaster relief.

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