River communities dealing with a once-in-a-generation flood event continue to be confused by what support can be accessed and how long restrictions on recreational activities will remain.
The Opposition is concerned by reports that those affected by the floods are unable to access vital financial support because of complicated guidelines and a difficult process.
This morning, local business owners from river communities spoke on radio about how they feel as though they are falling through the cracks.
“We seem to be falling through on all these funding… there’s funding for different things but at this time we don’t match any of those.” - Peter Raison, Mannum Hotel.
“The help they say is there is actually not there in a lot of instances and in my instance in particular I don’t feel like it is there.” - Kylie Rochow, DejaVu Mannum.
Peter Malinauskas has himself admitted “demand for some of the support (is) lower than what we may have anticipated”, with only 141 applicants for the early business closure grants and 166 applicants for the generator grants.
Shadow Minister for Water Resources and the River Murray Nicola Centofanti said she fears those low figures are due to the hurdles applicants are needing to jump.
“We absolutely welcome the additional disaster support, but it’s only effective if those who need help can access it,” Dr Centofanti said.
“It’s concerning hearing from flood-impacted businesses and residents who say they don’t believe they’re eligible for funding and that the process of applying for grants is confusing and complicated.
“Recovery and clean up will take time and it’s critical those affected get the support they need to bounce back as quickly as possible.”
Member for Hammond Adrian Pederick said he’s been in constant communication with members of his community who want clear and concise messaging regarding support and river restrictions.
"The rollout of the first support package saw many people fall through the cracks and we don’t want to see this happen a second time around,” Mr Pederick said.
“I welcome the extra financial support but the most important thing is to make sure the rollout of this support is targeted and effective.
“With peak flows starting to flow through communities lower down the river it’s crucial that those impacted are able to access support easily and quickly.”
Member for Chaffey Tim Whetstone said it’s disappointing today’s announcement about recreational restrictions on the River Murray didn’t provide any clarity for river communities.
“Safety for those in river communities is critical, but many businesses and residents are keen to have some certainty about when recreational activities will return,” Mr Whetstone said.
“Summer is usually the peak period for tourism along the River Murray and the restrictions are clearly having both an economic and social impact on communities who are already suffering because of the floods.
“While communities are calling for clarity, the Malinauskas Labor Government has instead said it’s working on ‘guidance around the various principles that inform the easing of restrictions’.
“The Opposition wants to see a specific trigger point at which recreational restrictions on the River Murray will be lifted so the community can plan ahead but unfortunately today’s announcement just provided more confusion.”
The confusion continues as the Minister responsible for the River Murray inexplicably spends a month long holiday overseas.