The independent Nationals MP Tony Crook will support the flood levy legislation in the House of Representatives, in a blow to Tony Abbott’s attempts to block the tax.
Crook is the member for O’Connor, the Western Australian electorate he won from the Liberal Party’s Wilson Tuckey at last year’s election. Whilst broadly supportive of the coalition, Crook has voted with the government on a number of pieces of legislation and procedural motions.
This is the text of a statement posted on Tony Crook’s website.
Support for Commonwealth Flood Response Package, Crook
FEDERAL Member for O’Connor Tony Crook today announced he would support the proposed Commonwealth Flood Response Package, due to be introduced when Parliament resumes next week.
Mr Crook this morning held discussions with Prime Minister Julia Gillard regarding the detail of the funding package.
“After careful consideration of the facts that I have been provided to date in relation to the implementation of the levy, infrastructure deferrals and program cuts, I am satisfied that the Government’s responses (sic) is adequate and responsible,” Mr Crook said.
“My support is conditional upon me reviewing the draft legislation, which is expected to be introduced into the Parliament late next week, and is consistent with the advice currently provided to me.”
Mr Crook sought assurances that residents of the Gascoyne would be able to seek exemptions from the levy if they were affected by the floods, which the Prime Minister provided today.
“Furthermore, the Prime Minister also confirmed to me today that there are no plans for Commonwealth funded WA infrastructure projects to be cut or delayed as a result of the flood package,” he said.
“This directly recognises the importance of these infrastructure projects in supporting WA’s critical role in the National economy.”
Mr Crook also said that any discussions regarding a new and stand alone Natural Disaster Relief Fund should be considered separately.
“Such a natural disaster fund would provide Governments at both State and Federal level with the ability to better prepare for and recover from significant events,” he said.
“However, right now we have a catastrophic event that we need to deal with and we have a responsibility to do this in a timely manner.”
“I appreciate the many Australians that have contacted me to express a view on the flood levy, I am convinced that a response which shares the responsibility between Government and the taxpayer to an event that is shaping up to be our most significant natural disaster in economic terms, is appropriate.”
Mr Crook said he hoped that if the shoe was on the other foot that his fellow Eastern States colleagues would be supporting Western Australia and O’Connor to deal with whatever disaster that may arise.