‘Breaking the nation’s heart’: PM flags more drought aid

'Breaking the nation’s heart': PM flags more drought aid

About $110 million is being provided to drought-affected communities through local government, along with boosted financial and mental health counselling, and support for community organisations.

“We are currently going through the process of working out, working through a second round of support for our drought-affected communities around the country,” Mr Morrison said.

“My thoughts are also very much about what’s happening in these drought communities in Australia.

“When I return, the first thing I’m going to do is get out there and reconnect and speak with those communities as we put the final touches, over the next little while, on that next round of the drought system.”

Labor has criticised Mr Joyce for not writing an official report on his work as envoy, a role which ended at the election.

The appointment included an allocation of additional taxpayer-funded staff and is estimated to have cost more than $200,000.

The former deputy prime minister said he sent “heaps” of reports to Mr Morrison, including via text message and face-to-face meetings.

The government is currently considering Major General Day’s written report. Drought and Water Resources Minister David Littleproud has told Parliament he is unable to release the document because it remains confidential and “subject to the deliberations of cabinet”.

Labor leader Anthony Albanese said the Coalition had failed to build any new dams, despite being in government since 2013.

Liberal and National MPs including Mr Joyce, former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull and Nationals leader Michael McCormack spruiked dam plans in Parliament dozens of times.

“They’re in their third term, their third Prime Minister. They haven’t built a dam. Not one,” Mr Albanese said during a visit to Bendigo.

“They talk about it, but nothing happens.

“What I want to see is a drought policy from this government. Barnaby Joyce’s appointment was clearly a farce to keep him busy, to stop him hunting down Michael McCormack. What we need is actually a drought policy from this government.”

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