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Lismore floods: Scott Morrison comes under fire for REFUSING to let TV cameras film his visit

Scott Morrison has been accused of not allowing cameras to film him meeting residents devastated by floods in Lismore.

The Prime Minister secretly visited the town’s State Emergency Service Centre, a farm and a home owner who lost all their possessions on Wednesday morning.

Seven News journalist Mark Riley said not announcing the visits essentially meant that cameras crews were not allowed to film.

Only the PM’s official photographer was able to snap the visits.

Demonstrators accused the PM of ‘snoring’ with his response to the floods which opponents say was delayed

There was a big police presence alongside the protesters for Mr Morrison's visit.  Many held signs blaming fossil fuel burning for climate change and flooding

There was a big police presence alongside the protesters for Mr Morrison’s visit. Many held signs blaming fossil fuel burning for climate change and flooding

Two years ago: Scott Morrison forced a woman to shake his hand in southern NSW in 2020 after bushfires

Two years ago: Scott Morrison forced a woman to shake his hand in southern NSW in 2020 after bushfires

‘Scott Morrison has visited a farm near Lismore and an SES operations base this morning and will soon visit houses affected by floods. Media have not been allowed to film the visits,’ Riley wrote on Twitter.

‘Media was not told of visits to flood-affected farm and SES base until after they had happened. PM’s official photographer was there.’

However, those traveling with the PM said it was normal for him to have stops that media were not invited to.

Seven News reporter Mark Riley accused the PM of not allowing reporters to film him

Seven News reporter Mark Riley accused the PM of not allowing reporters to film him

His team has organized a visit to a business and a press conference in Lismore, northern NSW which media have been told about.

Twitter users speculated Mr Morrison was trying to avoid a repeat of 2020 when he was left red-faced after bushfire victims in Cobargo, southern NSW refused to shake his hand following his infamous holiday to Hawaii when the nation burned.

‘He must be expecting another Cobargo reception,’ one wrote.

‘Is that to avoid his embarrassment due to local anger? Locals must be filming it,’ another said.

Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce earlier warned the PM was in for a frosty reception in Lismore which saw up to 14m of flooding last week.

‘People are incredibly vulnerable, and it’s understandable that they want to express that and the pain that they’re going through,’ Mr Joyce told Sky News.

‘I would be incredibly surprised if people got a happy reception, because they’re not in a happy place, and they want to be heard.’

Residents in Lismore and surrounding areas have criticized the government’s handling of the crisis, calling the response too slow to help deal with the clean-up efforts.

ADF personnel removing flood-damaged belongings from streets in Lismore, New South Wales on Tuesday

ADF personnel removing flood-damaged belongings from streets in Lismore, New South Wales on Tuesday

PM announces second $1,000 payment for flood victims

The next phase of support includes:

• An additional two weekly disaster payments for the catastrophe zones in the Lismore, Richmond Valley and Clarence Valley LGAs, automatically paid for those who have already claimed and received the Australian Government Disaster Recovery Payment, at the current rate of $1,000 per adult and $400 per child. These payments will be made from 15 and 22 March. The NRRA will also undertake assessment of possible additional LGAs that also meet the catastrophic impact assessment

• Support for Norco in northern NSW on a bespoke business support package, in partnership with the NSW Government, to help restore operations of this key business and employer

• $10 million to support the mental health of school-aged children in the Northern Rivers region affected by the recent flood event under the ‘Resilient Kids’ program

• $800,000 to extend the Regional Small Business Support Program to include small businesses impacted by the recent flood event in NSW and QLD for two RFCS regions, with a six month extension until 31 December 2022, as well as free and independent case managed financial counseling through the Rural Financial Counseling Service

• $5.4 million to boost existing legal assistance services operating within affected communities

• $25 million for emergency relief, food relief and financial counseling services

• Approximately $6.9 million in support payments of $10,000 to assist early childhood education and care (ECEC) services affected by the floods where they have been closed for more than seven days. More severely impacted services will also be able to apply for Community Child Care Fund Special Circumstances grants

• $7 million to expand the Commonwealth’s business recovery and resilience service, Strengthening Business, into at least 30 of the most flood affected regions of northern New South Wales (NSW) and south-eastern Queensland

• $31.2 million to deliver immediate and longer term local mental health support services for individuals, families, and communities impacted by the disaster and to support communities to recover and build resilience across the flood affected communities

• $4.7 million to ensure the immediate continuity of primary health care services for flood-impacted Australians

Mr Morrison said he would declare a national emergency in response to the widespread flooding disasters in northern NSW.

The declaration would allow for red tape to be cut between government agencies and allow for resources and support to be deployed faster.

It is the first time a national emergency has been declared following a natural disaster since the laws passed federal parliament in December 2020.

‘I intend to recommend to the Governor-General to make a National Emergency Declaration covering this severe weather and flooding event across New South Wales and Queensland to ensure all our emergency powers are available and that we cut through any red tape we might face in delivering services and support on the ground,’ the Prime Minister said.

‘I have made this decision today, in consultation with the Premiers, after further briefings from government agencies about the situation in northern NSW and seeing the catastrophe firsthand. We introduced the power to make a National Emergency Declaration after the Black Summer bushfires and it will ensure our Ministers and agencies don’t face any unnecessary bureaucracy as they roll out what communities need.’

The national emergency declaration was first proposed as a recommendation following the Black Summer bushfires in 2019/20.

The prime minister also announced more funding to help rebuild communities impacted by the floods, with a focus on long-term reconstruction.

He will hand out an extra $1,000 to adults in three LGAs of Lismore, Richmond Valley and Clarence Valley LGAs.

There are 1,800 ADF personnel on the ground in northern NSW assisting flood recovery efforts, with that number set to grow to 2,500 by the end of the day.

Brigadier Robert Lording, who is in Lismore, told Sydney radio 2GB that figure would increase to 4,000 by week’s end.

‘The scale of this incident has been far bigger than anything we’ve potentially experienced in this area before,’ he said.

‘It’s a large logistics effort to get people up here, and importantly, it’s a big logistics effort for us to get the money here and to be able to support them.’

As of Wednesday morning, more than $385 million in federal disaster payments have been made to more than 330,000 affected by the floods.

Of those funds, $238.9 million has gone to 205,700 people in NSW and $146.3 million has gone to 125,200 people in Queensland.

The latest figures show there are 4,370 ADF personnel deployed to assist with flood efforts across NSW and Queensland, with almost 500 additional troops expected to arrive by the end of Thursday.

A fireman told Mr Morrison 'I don't really want to shake your hand' during a visit in 2020

A fireman told Mr Morrison ‘I don’t really want to shake your hand’ during a visit in 2020

Mr Joyce said residents in flood-affected areas had not been let down by the government response or ADF rollout.

But opposition emergency management spokesman Murray Watt said residents in northern NSW had felt abandoned.

‘If… community members hadn’t stepped up, then we would have been seeing a death toll in the hundreds of people,’ Senator Watt told ABC Radio.

‘While people are grateful for the assistance they’ve had from the army, there’s just nowhere near enough of it.’

Senator Watt had urged the government to declare a national emergency.

‘People are angry… they feel like they have been left to fend for themselves,’ he said.

Agriculture Minister David Littleproud said the response to natural disasters could always be better.

‘No disaster is the same, as I found from the bushfires and then into floods and into cyclones, but there (are) long-established protocols in where by the states lead the process,’ he said.

‘We stand ready, the defense force is there, and we need to make sure they’re used the proper way and they don’t get on the road.’

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