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Libs take aim at government flood response

Deputy Liberal leader Sussan Ley has taken aim at the prime minister for not visiting areas of NSW affected by widespread flooding since becoming leader.

As the federal government announced a $30 million investment alongside the NSW government for flood-affected businesses to reopen, Ms Ley said Anthony Albanese had forgotten about regions that had been devastated by the disaster.

“The prime minister has not been to this region once since becoming prime minister. He’s found time to go overseas, he’s found time to go on holidays,” she told reporters in Lismore on Thursday.

“He’s found time to have a two-day job summit talkfest in Canberra. Why hasn’t he had time to come here to see what we’ve seen?”

Ms Ley said the recovery effort in Lismore and surrounding areas following the floods earlier this year was a challenge not just for the community but for the country as a whole.

She said people in flood-affected areas needed more certainty about recovery efforts.

“I don’t want to talk about the politics of the flood recovery. We want to talk about the reality,” she said.

“Anthony Albanese needs to come and look at this for himself, because when you see it for yourself, you immediately understand what’s needed.”

It comes as the government announced businesses would soon be able to apply for support to reopen in the Northern Rivers region following the flood.

The $30 million scheme, a joint partnership between the federal and NSW government, would see flood affected business owners and landlords be able to apply for up to $50,000 of grants.

Emergency Management Minister Murray Watt said applications for the grants would open at the end of September.

“This support will cover repair-related costs for landlords to ensure retail businesses can reopen,” he said.

“That could include clean-up services, hiring equipment or covering the cost of building repairs.”

Nationals MP Kevin Hogan, who represents the electorate where the flooding took place, said there had been a lack of movement from the government on support to residents such as house buybacks or land swaps in the wake of the disaster.

“The federal government, the state governments need to move as quickly as they can because again, the people in these houses can’t make decisions right now,” he said.

“They can’t or they don’t want to make that decision yet because they don’t know what’s going to be on the table for them with a house raze or a move or a land swap.”

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