LISMORE MP Janelle Saffin wants the NSW Government to fund a targeted package of flood mitigation projects to help protect local communities within the Lismore City, Tweed Shire and Kyogle local government areas.
Ms Saffin has confirmed she is lobbying NSW Water Minister Melinda Pavey and NSW Emergency Services Minister David Elliott, providing them with the councils’ wish lists, prioritising projects, many of which are ‘shovel ready’ and costed, or under investigation.
“I have been briefed by respective general managers or relevant technical staff on the critical importance of these projects, particularly since the major floods which devastated Lismore and Murwillumbah in 2017,” Ms Saffin said.
“If the NSW Government was to fund the projects as a targeted package, this would give our local business and residential communities here greater preparedness, protection and confidence when faced with natural disasters.
“Inexplicably, the Australian Government’s guidelines for its Preparing Australian Communities grants program excluded Lismore City and Tweed Shire local government areas as priority location areas for flooding assistance.
“I have strongly argued the case for their inclusion as priority location areas during a subsequent telephone conversation with the National Recovery and Resilience Agency Co-ordinator-General, The Honourable Shane Stone AC QC.
“I am confident that the Co-ordinator-General will do all that he can to rectify the situation.”
Ms Saffin said that while the Preparing Australian Communities grants program is likely to capture some flood infrastructure projects within the high-rainfall, floodprone areas of the Northern Rivers region, there is scope for a targeted NSW Government investment in this space.
“Councils and community representatives tell me that flood mitigation has very much been the poor cousin compared with other areas of government expenditure for many decades, and often put on the backburner between flood events,” Ms Saffin said.
“I put it to Minister Pavey and Minister Elliott that with the worsening impacts of climate change, the need to properly address the threat of flooding to our region warrants much more funding attention in the coming years.”
Ms Saffin has also sought a flood mitigation project priority list from Tenterfield Shire Council.
Thursday, 9 December 2021.