Leaders head to flood-ravaged Tasmania
Malcolm Turnbull has warned of more frequent and damaging storms as a result of climate change, as he gave an open-ended commitment to funding repairs and helping flood-affected families and businesses.
The prime minister and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten separately toured parts of northern Tasmania on Thursday to talk to emergency workers and local officials and inspect damage from heavy rain and flooding.
Mr Turnbull told reporters at Latrobe he expected the Tasmanian bill alone - which the federal government will chip in half under now-triggered disaster arrangements - to head north of $19 million.
Once it reaches that point the federal contribution will lift to three-quarters of the tab.
At least 19 bridges are down in Tasmania, with a swathe of damage in NSW and Victoria.
The prime minister said larger and more frequent storms were predicted as a result of global warming.
"You cannot attribute any particular storm to global warming," he said.
"Having said that, it's very important to raise the issue of mitigation and making sure that communities are prepared and protected in the face of risks like this."
Mr Shorten toured the Latrobe area where he thanked SES officers.
"On matters like this, politics takes a back-seat," he told ABC radio.
"It's all about helping people, the government, the roads, the rail and farmers."
Nationally, the Insurance Council says more than 16,500 claims have been lodged at an estimated cost of $63.5 million covering Queensland, NSW, Victoria's east coast and Tasmania's northern and eastern coasts.
The two leaders' visits came as a new analysis by William Bowe, who blogs as The Poll Bludger, shows the coalition on track to lose 12 seats but narrowly holding on to power.
Swings against the government range from 10.6 per cent in Western Australia - where Labor could add six seats to its current three - to two per cent in South Australia.
Ballot paper draws will be conducted across all 150 lower house seats and the Senate on Friday, with early voting starting on Tuesday.
Both major parties say about a third of voters will cast their ballots before polling day, which will make the final weeks of the campaign more intense.
The business lobby is set to throw its weight behind the coalition with an advertising campaign to be launched next week drumming up support for Mr Turnbull's $50 billion company tax cut.
Shadow treasurer Chris Bowen said Labor, which supports a tax cut only for small businesses, would act in the "national interest", saying the bigger cut was unaffordable.
Treasurer Scott Morrison said Labor was seeking to add to the tax burden to the tune of $100 billion over a decade.