PM Transcripts

Transcripts from the Prime Ministers of Australia

Transcript 2539


Photo of McMahon, William

McMahon, William

Period of Service: 10/03/1971 to 05/12/1972

More information about McMahon, William on The National Archive website.

Release Date: 16/02/1972

Release Type: Media Release

Transcript ID: 2539

FOR PRESS; PM. No. 25/ 1972.
Statement by the Prime Minister, Mr. William McMahon, CH, MP.
Cyclone Althea struck the Townsville region on
24 December last. I informed the then acting Premier of Queensland
on Christmas Day that the Commonwealth Government was ready to join
with the State in providing finance for the relief of personal
hardship and distress and informed him that the co-operation of
Commonwealth facilities was being made available.
The Army and R. A. A. F. rendered sterling service, as
did other Commonwealth authorities.
While relief and restoration measures other than the
relief of personal hardship and distress resulting from na-tural
disasters are regarded as a State responsibility, the Commonwealth
nevertheless recognises that the States have limited financial
resources to draw upon in an emergency and is prepared to assist in
Jinancing measures other than the relief of personal hardship and
distress where the States are involved in substantial expenditu~ re
of an abnormal nature.
Furthermore, when a State incurs expenditure on sugh
additional agreed measures in excess of an initial base amount ip a
financial year, the Commonwealth is prepared to meet in full the.
remaining expenditure which would have been incurred by the State
on eligible relief and restoration measures. As Queensland haf in
1971-72 already incurred expenditure before Cyclone Althea struick
amounting to $ 2 million the " base"~ amount for that State the
Commonwealth has agreed to provide the following financial asststance
to the State, in addition to sharing on a dollar-for-dollar basis
expenditure for the immediate relief of personal hardship and
distress: State Government eligible expenditure in 1971/ 72
on the restoration of Government assets will be
fully reimbursed by the Commonwealth in keeping with
its undertaking to meet all eligible natural
disaster expenditure this year in excess of $ 2
million. ./ 2

b The Queensland Government normally requires
semi-Government and local authorities to meet
one third of restoration costs in situations
such as this. In view of the large amounts
involved with this cyclone, the Commonwealth has
agreed with a request by the State that such
authorities be required to bear one-third of the
cost of restoration of their assets up to a
maximum of $ 100,000 in any one financial year.
In addition, special consideration will be given
where a figure approaching $ 100,000 would be
unduly onerous for a smaller authority to bear.
The Commonwealth will accordingly meet these
excess costs.
The State's scheme of grants to necessitous
persons for repairing and rebuilding private
dwellings damaged by the cyclone would normally
fall within the category of relief of " personal
hardship and distress" which is shard on a
dollar-for-dollar basis with the State concerned.
In view of the exceptional circumstances of the
disaster and the widespread damage to private
property, particularly that of pensioners, I
have informed the Premier that the State's share
of the cost of this scheme may be included with
its expenditure on the restoration of
Government assets, for the purpose of assessing
the amount of State natural disaster expenditure
reimbursable by the Commonwealth in 1971-72.
On the basis of preliminary estimates, the cost to the
Commonwealth of financial assistance to the Queensland Government in
respect of damage caused by Cyclone Althea will be between $ 5h and
$ 6-oillion this financial year. To the extent that some of the
repairs may not be completed before 30 June 1972, the carry-over
costs would be a charge against the State's base expenditure for
1972--73 and Commonwealth expenditure in 1971-72 would be that much
the less.
CANBERRA, 16 February, 1972.

Transcript 2539