You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

PM 'playing politics' with SA storms

AAP logoAAP 3/10/2016 Belinda Merhab

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull concedes not enough money has been spent on mitigating natural disasters as he toured the flood-ravaged parts of South Australia.

Mr Turnbull says the federal government is working with state and local governments to better balance disaster funding with more focus on mitigation.

Spending more on mitigation would save money on huge clean-up costs in the aftermath of disasters.

"What we need to be doing is not just relieving the consequences of natural disasters but putting in the measures to ensure when they do come ... it doesn't do the same damage as this one has," he told reporters in the flood-hit town of Virginia, north of Adelaide, on Monday.

Mr Turnbull paid tribute to the community, volunteers and 250 defence force members helping out after the state was lashed by a powerful storm cell that caused a state-wide blackout and inundated the mid north and Adelaide Hills.

He said 100,000 sandbags had been delivered, including 60,000 flown in from Queensland.

He brushed off criticisms he took too long to visit in the wake of the devastating storms, insisting he was the first person Premier Jay Weatherill called.

"We've been on to it very intensively ever since."

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten agreed disaster mitigation was a "long-overdue debate" as he met with emergency workers in Roseworthy on Monday.

He called for a discussion on creating a national energy market but accused the prime minister of playing politics with the "one-in-50-year storm", after Mr Turnbull last week blasted state Labor government's for setting unrealistic renewable energy targets.

"Rule 101 of natural disaster is that politicians should not play politics - renewable energy didn't blow over 23 transmission towers," Mr Shorten told reporters.

"There are people, as we speak, doing rescues, fixing fences, mopping out their houses. They don't need to hear politicians trying to score a cheap political point."

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon