Disasters to hit budget

Date

It's too early to consider a new flood levy to cover the cost of the damage to Queensland, a Liberal frontbencher says.

On Monday, federal Treasurer Wayne Swan said the summer of heatwaves, fires and floods would hit the budget but it was too soon to discuss another flood levy.

Liberal Queensland senator George Brandis said on Tuesday it was premature to be saying "categorically yes or no" to a new levy.

"We don't yet have an early assessment ... of the costs," he told Sky News.

"The first thing someone like Wayne Swan and other Labor politicians think of is 'Ah ha, here's another excuse to have another tax'."

He said whatever federal assistance was needed to help Queensland and NSW rebuild infrastructure could be accommodated if the Gillard government "tightened its belt".

"Before we start talking about a levy what we ought to be talking about is the federal government trimming its own spending," Senator Brandis said.

In the wake of the 2011 floods in Queensland and Victoria, the federal government introduced a one-off flood levy on taxpayers to cover the cost of the disasters.

Labor parliamentary secretary Mike Kelly said Australia had a "proud tradition" of using levies when necessary.

He pointed to the Howard government's gun buyback following the Port Arthur massacre.

Defending the Gillard government's $1.8 billion flood levy, Mr Kelly said some of that money had been deployed on flood damage prevention measures.

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