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‘Get on with it!’: Deborah Knight blasts political blame game as hundreds wait on bushfire relief

Deborah Knight has questioned the squabbling of federal and state governments as hundreds of farmers and small businesses are left waiting for bushfire relief.

Nine newspapers have revealed only 108 of 654 small business grants have been approved since the start of September, while less than half of 1117 applications made by fire-affected farms have been approved to date.

The grants are funded by the federal government but administered by the states.

Agriculture, Drought and Emergency Management Minister David Littleproud has concerns about the states’ ability to deliver the money, while NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro argues the Commonwealth has issued strict guidelines.

But Minister Littleproud argues this issue is a state one, telling Deborah Knight the states should be minimising red tape.

“Once we agree on the criteria between one another we asked them [the states] to administer it.

“When we’ve looked at it we’ve just gone, why can’t the states just talk to one another and streamline this even further, to get the hell out of people’s lives?

“Have checks and balances there that gives the Australian taxpayer comfort, but also the knowledge that this money is getting out as quick as it possibly can.”

But Deborah says none of this is getting to the heart of the issue.

“Who’s right here? Well, who really cares? Don’t we just want them to stop the blame game and get on with it?

“We just want the money to be delivered to where it needs to go.”

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