Peter Dutton slammed for setting up GoFundMe for flood victims: 'This is a joke'

Federal Defence Minister Peter Dutton has been criticised for setting up a GoFundMe page in response to flooding in his electorate in Queensland.

The GoFundMe was set up by Mr Dutton over the weekend and is set to benefit residents and business owners in the Shire of Pine Rivers who were impacted by the floods.

Mr Dutton said the money would provide immediate assistance in the wake of the floods and go towards food and essential supply packages, clean-up supplies and equipment to help businesses get back up and running.

Pictured is Minister for Defence Peter Dutton who set up a GoFundMe.
Minister for Defence Peter Dutton set up a GoFundMe in the wake of the devastating floods in Queensland. Source: AAP

The GoFundMe has since raised over $22,000 and it appears Mr Dutton donated $2500, however, not everyone was impressed a federal politician was asking the public for money amid the crisis.

"A prominent Government minister in Peter Dutton starting a GoFundMe Page for Qld flood relief," one person said on Twitter.

"I get it's for a noble cause but it just doesn't seem right on a number of levels. "

"I thought it was a joke. It isn't," another person said.

"Tell me you have no idea what a competent government does without telling me you have no idea what a competent does," MP Josh Wilson said of the GoFundMe on Twitter.

A few people pointed out the federal government has funds which are meant to support people who are trying to stay afloat amid a disaster.

The prime minister did announce on Monday the Commonwealth has extended the Disaster Recovery Payment to flood-affected people as well as sending defence forces personnel in to help flood-ravaged communities.

Politicians defend Peter Dutton's GoFundMe move

Some politicians rushed to Mr Dutton's defence.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison was asked at a press conference whether disaster recovery was something the federal government should be taking care of and why Mr Dutton had set up the fundraiser.

"As a local member to parliament you always look to try, and look to harness community support for responding to major disasters," the prime minister said.

"That's what our job is — to work with our communities when they're in times of stress and times of need, so I commend Peter for what he's doing.

"I don't understand the criticism of it, frankly, I really don't. He is working with his community to add to the significant contributions that are being made by the Commonwealth and the state and the local government."

Peter Dutton's GoFundMe is to benefit the Pine Rivers community. Source: GoFundMe
Peter Dutton's GoFundMe is to benefit the Pine Rivers community. Source: GoFundMe

GoFundMe said over $50,000 has been raised amid the floods in Queensland and NSW in just 24 hours across 40 different fundraisers.

MP Luke Howarth also set up a GoFundMe for relief in his electorate of Petrie and some $1700 has been raised.

In the wake of the GoFundMe fundraisers, people questioned why the Emergency Response Fund had not been used.

The Emergency Response Fund is intended to be used only if other disaster funding is not available and none of the money has been used yet.

"Your reminder that the Australian government sits on $4.7 billion in emergency response funding that they have not spent a cent of," one person said on Twitter.

"There are elderly pensioners on their roofs right now in Lismore needing rescue and the Minister for Defence is running a GoFundMe. No words."

Disaster relief coming in for Queensland and NSW

From Monday at 1pm Queensland time, people in Queensland's southeast will be able to apply for Commonwealth support.

The Disaster Recovery Payment (AGDRP) had been activated and eligible adults would receive $1000 and $400 for eligible children.

“We have seen some devastating scenes across South East Queensland but these affected communities can be assured the Australian and Queensland Governments will work together as we identify what additional assistance will be needed,” Minister Bridget McKenzie said.

A man is seen paddling a kayak through flood waters covering Torwood Street in the suburb of Milton in Brisbane, Monday, February 28, 2022.
Queensland's southeast is set to endure more wild weather as the state grapples with a days-long flood crisis. Source: AAP

In a media release, the Prime Minister's Office said Australian Defence Force personnel will continue supporting the emergency response and more will be done when the recovery effort starts once the water recedes.

Queensland Fire and Emergency services conducted more than 130 swiftwater rescues and responded to more than 2200 calls for help in the past 24 hours.

Seven people have already been killed and police are searching for three men missing – in Brisbane, in Goodna, west of Brisbane, and in Esk, northwest of the city, on Monday.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said more than 15,000 homes have been impacted in Greater Brisbane and 3600 in Gympie, north of the Sunshine Coast, and there were 1544 people in evacuation centres across the southeast.

with AAP

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