Monday, 10 January 2011

Flood Relief for Queensland

Planning for a Rainy Day.

Seems so obvious that its a cliche, yet it seems that is beyond the capacity of the Australian Government to plan for. Hell bent on driving the economy forward when anything goes wrong we seem to have nothing in reserve.

At the moment its pissing down with rain still and Queensland is in the middle of one of those one in a hundred year events. What has made this event worse is most likely the fact that so much and so wide spread rain has fallen on inland catchments rather than just on the coastal strips (as is more normal).

Watching TV programs raising money for flood relieve of the victims of this even (which continues to unfold) a couple of things occur to me:

  • the General Public and Australian Business has donated over 20 million dollars to this while the Queensland State and Commonwealth Government have contributed 1 million each.

  • I have not heard a whisper of any help from overseas countries such as China, Saudi Arabia or any of the number of places where Australia has shown enormous generosity when they have disasters

Pakistan was flooded just recently in 2010 and Australians donated generously to assist them, the United Nations stepped in and organised some US$460 Million in aid for them.

Yet the areas of Queensland (and New South Wales) effected by the flooding at the moment here and now is significantly larger. I've heard figures of equivalent to the entire area of NSW, which is 800 thousand square kilometers.

This is more than the entire area of Pakistan and many times the area of Pakistans flooding. Yet we here in Australia just pull together and stand on our own two feet and don't expect help from outside.

I'm willing to bet we don't see much charity from wealthy nations like Saudi Arabia or the Arab Emirates. I'll go out on a limb here and say its because we're not an Islamic Nation.

Australia contributed something over $20 Million to the crisis in Pakistan, and while I am glad we could make a difference to so many, it makes me wonder about charity beginning at home a bit as I'm sure we could use more help than we're getting now.

Worse, it seems that "hard business" attitudes prevail and that India and China are now thinking they'll take there business elsewhere if we can't keep pumping out the coal due to our disaster. Hardly any charity there.

I think its sad that during the years of bounty the Government was doing its best to keep our budget in surplus (mainly under John Howard) while ignoring much infrastructure and capacity planning.

Wouldn't it be nice if we'd put "a little aside" each month for "just in case" ... we'd then easily have something like a billion dollars in a fund to cope with just such an emergency.

It would be nice if we could have a government which actually planned for such contingencies rather than prattling on with pandering to populist nonsense and electorally divisive issues.

Too much attention has been paid to politics and not enough to good governance.

Time for a change I reckon

PS ... just read this: the Federal Government's plans to give Indonesia $500 million over the next five years for educational development

Wouldn't that be better spent here in Queensland ... even if only from a raw financial analytical perspective if not from a humanitarian one?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Good news is well... good news:

PAPUA New Guinea has pledged 10 million kina ($4 million) in support