An Open Letter To Our Government RE: Flood Levy

Now, I know that I usually try to refrain from all things political (unless it’s environmentally related), but this morning I found that I couldn’t hold my tongue. I’m really disappointed that our government wants to tax us because we have recently gone through a flood (tax or levy, it’s all the same thing). And because I’ve basically got a big mouth… I figured I’d let you guys know all about it.

Thoughts? (I can forward them on too, if you like)

Edit: My apologies to Anna Bligh for sending this original letter to the wrong Twitter account. In my defense, Anna has a number of accounts that she hasn’t used for a while. I simply took the first account to be hers. Yes… I should have looked better… my bad.

This is the letter that I posted on Twitter this morning… hence all the @’s and # tags.

@JuliaGillard @PremierBligh

A quick Q RE: #floodlevy A genuine inquiry I’d appreciate the time you take to read & would love a response if possible.

Wondering how much did State & Federal governments actually give #floodappeal. We don’t hear much about that any more. However, I must say that I was very disappointed in the original $1mil offer. At the time 200 000 people had been affected… that million would only stretch to $5 per person. At the time you were also very proud of that offer and couldn’t see why people complained. Not very fair… not very Australian.

Now I also must say how proud I am of my fellow countrymen. The rest of us collected $150mil+ for #floodappeal in a mere few weeks. These are people in our community. People who have already taken on the responsibility of taking care of their friends and neighbours. People who have shored and bouyed our state when it needed it… who have jumped in and just done what needed to be done. People who have taken it upon themselves to help you do your job of caring for our citizens, to be frank.

And to reward those people for their selfishness you are going to take more in way of a flood levy?? Honestly… how do you have the balls to even ask? After your piss-weak offer and our completely selfless donation of OUR time and money… shouldn’t you be trying to step up to the mark yourselves, rather than penalizing those who have already lost so much, and still given what they can?

Yes, I’m aware that the govt has spent lots on Army, Emergency Services, etc… but that’s your job, your responsibility to your countrymen. It’s your job to take care of our citizens, even when something terrible and unexpected happens… nay, ESPECIALLY then. But I’m also aware of all the things that were fixed/cleaned/saved by many and varied individuals who took to those jobs of their own volition. Your public thank-you’s to these people was nice… but this subsequent ‘temporary flood levy’ is an insult.

And let’s not forget that maintaining our water catchments is ultimately also the government’s responsibility. I hate to jump on the ‘his fault, her fault’ bandwagon, but you do have to admit that things could have been handled better there, and that at least some of the damage (perhaps even deaths?) could have been avoided if it had been handled differently.

And to add to that one… who allowed a whole bunch of housing to be built on floodplains because of our ‘flood-proof’ dam? We believed the govt on that one when asked to. You must consider these things.

Disregarding who IS at fault (laying blame won’t fix anything), I do know who is NOT to blame for this disaster. Everyday Aussies are NOT…

Personally, I’m disappointed… in the govt, not the Australian people (let me clarify that). I’m disappointed that you are going to give with one hand and take with the other. Not fair… not when it’s your responsibility anyway.

So, here’s my serious question that I really would appreciate an answer to… well a few questions…

How much has both State and Federal governments added to Flood Appeals? And I’m also interested in how much this flood levy will net us? Basically, are you trying to tax back your donation? And then… is there plans for any other inflated taxes. How much will you ask average Aussies to pay for? Do you plan on taking until we pay for the whole damage bill ourselves?

That’d be handy, wouldn’t it?

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3 Comments

  1. GOF said,

    January 26, 2011 at 7:41 am

    Excellent composition Tina.

    Why should we ever voluntarily donate cash again to disasters if the Government is going to set a precedent by taxing us every time one occurs.

    I will, (very gently and with good humour) suggest that EVERYBODY has to share responsibility. Governments at all 3 levels, plus individual citizens….those who valued water views over sensibility, or who knew they were building on land flooded in 1974 and in previous centuries.

    Did anybody ever consult with Aboriginal elders about potential flood levels BEFORE all our towns were originally constructed? I suspect not, because we thought we knew it all. Flood damage should be avoidable, whereas cyclone destruction is not.

    • Tina said,

      January 28, 2011 at 2:08 pm

      Thanks GOF. I do agree with your sentiments re everyone taking some responsibility. We all SHOULD take responsibility for each other. And I would like everyone to know that I neither want to discourage people from doing their bit, nor will I stop doing what I can. I love the attitude that our country has shown of late. I’m proud…

      And I want people to know that WE earn under the levy threshold, so we won’t be affected by this at all. I’m not complaining because I’m going to have to go without a latte a week. Neither is this a political argument… I vote neither Liberal nor Labour, so this is not about ‘My Political Party’. I’m not lazy, I’m not greedy and I’m not ‘Un-Australian because I don’t want to help my mates’. And another thing I am NOT… is blindfolded..

      I’ll admit that I’m kind of torn… I can see good, but I can also see bad here… the potential for us ALL to be taken advantage of. Yes, it’s only a few dollars a week, but it’s the principle that I don’t like. I don’t like that we have an allocated fund but the government is refusing to use it. I don’t like that the government is using that fund to prop up the economy while demanding that we pay for this disaster ourselves… it sets a precedent that they’ll be able to use every time a cyclone devastates a city, or fire razes a town. It could end up being quite an expensive thing if the government gets it into their heads that it’s ok to take such a liberty.

      And besides all that… our people and our immediate needs are more important than our economy… at least that’s MY old hippy belief. Yes, that money has netted us a nice packet in the past, but now is the time that we should use our emergency contingency for what it was designed for. The rest we can sort out later.

      If there IS a shortfall @JuliaGillard @TheQldPremier, ASK us to contribute. You know we will. We’ve all seen just how much we will give… willingly and with no prompting. I don’t like that the government has now taken advantage of our generosity by reaching into our pockets and taking more. You know, the lady at the supermarket with the Salvos tin doesn’t deride people for giving small change… she just keeps asking politely… and people are happy to donate to her cause over and over. It’s a respect thing.

      I do think big businesses should be asked to contribute to our fund too, but I doubt the government has the balls to ask them to. And a temporary levy can only be a temporary fix anyway. We should be topping up our emergency fund ALL the time. Anyway, more about that later…

      I fear that our newly re-discovered Aussie love and respect may be at stake here, more than anything. Our pride in ourselves will suffer greater than our bank balances, there’s no doubt about that. That could be a very sad thing.

      And yes, I do believe that we should be utilising ancient knowledge much more than we do. I’ve heard local stories about this area when in times of giant floods, and this recent one rang surprisingly close to some of them. What worries me are the stories about even greater floods… of all this area being under water except for the ranges, which were just islands. Perhaps we haven’t seen the worst of what COULD happen weather-wise. We could learn much.

      Keep your head down with Anthony approaching, my friend. And don’t forget to tie your stuff down properly this time ;oP

  2. GOF said,

    January 29, 2011 at 6:40 am

    Government could have easily created a “rainy day fund” years ago, just like most of us keep a few dollars aside for emergencies.
    I think it is the unprecedented widespread nature of this disaster which could allow me to forgive the Govt on this occasion…..after all the Feds did fund the rebuilding after cyclone Larry without wanting to impose a levee.

    It matters not how much you tie stuff down….if the cyclone’s big enough it will all get blown away anyhow. 🙂 If these two cyclones travel any further south you might need to reinflate your water wings again too.


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