WA opposition motion for Labor’s cyclone censure defeated

Phoebe PinGeraldton Guardian
North West Central MLA Vince Catania.
Camera IconNorth West Central MLA Vince Catania. Credit: Tom Zaunmayr/West Regional News

A motion slamming the McGowan Government’s handling of the cyclone Seroja recovery effort was slapped down in Parliament last week.

Member for North West Central Vince Catania last Tuesday moved for the State Government to be condemned for its “ongoing failure” to provide “adequate support” to residents affected by the April 11 cyclone.

Mr Catania said rebuilding efforts in places like Kalbarri and Northampton were “not going according to plan” and insurance companies had “one foot on the hose” in failing to process claims.

“Because there are tarps on the houses, the rain is creating mould and the houses are becoming unliveable ... due to the delay in insurance companies coming to the party,” he said.

“What is the minister for emergency services doing to apply pressure to insurance companies?”

What is the minister for emergency services doing to apply pressure to insurance companies?

- Member for North West Central Vince Catania.

“For those businesses who are struggling three months on, all they have is $4000,” he said.

“After three months, they have no certainty around their businesses or a campaign to ensure people who are visiting Kalbarri know exactly what is open and what is not open. The Government needs to do more.”

Emergency Services Minister Reece Whitby during a press conference at Dumas House regarding an update on Cyclone Seroja and COVID-19 on April 12, 2021.
Camera IconEmergency Services Minister Reece Whitby during a press conference at Dumas House regarding an update on Cyclone Seroja and COVID-19 on April 12, 2021. Credit: Danella Bevis/The West Australian

Emergency Services Minister Reece Whitby called the motion an attempt by the Opposition to “score cheap political points”, and said the State Government’s response to the crisis had been “extraordinary”.

“The support that the State Government has given is enormous. It also extends to hundreds, if not thousands, of volunteers and emergency responders—career responders and volunteer responders,” he said.

“My concern right now is that if we continue to have the misinformation we have seen reported in the press for no other reason than to score cheap political points, it will have an impact on the welfare and mental health of people in that community.”

Energy Minister Bill Johnston accused the Nationals WA of bringing “fake emotion” to the discussion. The motion was defeated 43 votes to five.

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