Sunrise host Nat Barr and Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce clashed on-air on Monday morning over his claims the floods that have devastated NSW's Northern Rivers region is a very rare situation.
Speaking about the government's response and calls from the community about not being supported through the natural disaster, Joyce claimed ministers weren't able to plan for the "one in 3500 year event".
The federal government has been slammed for failing to assist the community with ADF personnel, resources and food.
"If there are problems we will find them and fix them," he told Nat and David 'Kochie' Koch. "Speaking to Kevin Hogan (a Nationals Minister based in Lismore) just before this, this is a one-in-3500-year event for his area in Lismore.
"It is beyond something that is naturally able to be planned for. This is monumentous. This is diluvian."
Nat and Kochie disagreed with Joyce's comments and gave him statistics from NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet and mayor of Ballina shire council, Sharon Cadwallader, who described the floods as being a one-in-1000-year to one-in-500-year event.
"Barnaby, this whole one in 100, one in 100 or one in 3000, sounds to most people to be BS to be quite frank," Nat hit back. "We've heard the Bureau of Meteorology say that's not right, and we've heard a minister from Western Sydney saying it's actually a one per cent chance of it happening every year.
"So, we've had it last year and we've had it this year and it could happen again next year, so I think we need to drop all that stuff don't we? It can happen, so what do we do about it."
Joyce attempted to counter, saying he's not going to listen to someone not local to the region and will listen to Kevin Hogan from Lismore.
"Or the Bureau of Meteorology?" Nat countered.
"We listen to the Bureau of Meteorology, not politicians," Kochie hit back as Joyce tried to continue his point.
"We went to the experts, rather than a politician," the host once again told an exasperated Joyce.
The Sunrise hosts said the government needed to prepare for events such as these much better because communities have been doing their own fundraising in order to get supplies when the government should have stepped in to help much sooner.
The floods have destroyed over 2000 homes and businesses and five people have lost their lives.
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