LISMORE MP Janelle Saffin has welcomed the first injection of $150 million in Commonwealth funding for serious mitigation work as the Northern Rivers region charts a more flood-resilient future.
Ms Saffin and Lismore City Mayor Cr Steve Krieg joined Federal Minister for Emergency Management Murray Watt in Lismore where he announced $50 million worth of tranch 1 priority projects under the CSIRO-led Northern Rivers Resilience Initiative.
“The bulk of this money ($42 million) is for upgrades and maintenance of local councils’ existing flood management infrastructure such as upgrading pumps and pump stations, and some road and bridge raisings,” Ms Saffin said.
“I was working with local councils on these type of practical projects and lobbying for State funding in the months leading up to the 28 February 2022 flood, so the Albanese Government’s focus on our region is most welcome.
“About $5 million will go towards increasing local communities’ flood risk knowledge and awareness, including flood risk information campaigns and flood warning signs, floor level surveys for building across the region and assessment of evacuation routes.
“Another $3 million will fund a two-year program to establish or consolidate community-led resilience teams for about 70 communities across seven Local Government Areas, sharing local knowledge with emergency management organisations such as the State Emergency Service and Rural Fire Service, and councils.”
Ms Saffin said the priority projects come after the CSIRO undertook a proper community consultation process, where people and community groups with their passion and experiences, were really listened to.
“Local people living and doing business on our floodplains need to feel a sense of safety and security, and this helps chart the way in,” Ms Saffin said.
“All of this needs to be complemented by a comprehensive, wraparound economic and environmental plan to support our community rebuild and reimagine our communities, and to undertake the transformational adaption that is required now.
“We can do it and we need government to support us in the articulation of our needs, then carefully consider it and back us in.
“The Northern Rivers Reconstruction Corporation (NRRC) will have a standalone unit, staffed and resourced to implement the first round of priority projects.”
Minister Watt also released CSIRO’s Rapid Project Prioritisation for Flood Resilience in the Northern Rivers Report.
Ms Saffin said the CSIRO had briefed her on how they had assessed all the projects and programmes put to them against some strict criteria, including:
- Would they work to support mitigation-restoration, strengthening;
- Were they evidence based;
- Were they scientifically sound;
- Consideration of economic-environmental and social impacts;
- And were they viable and feasible?
SETTING PRIORITIES: Lismore MP Janelle Saffin makes a point during today’s press conference, flanked by Lismore City Mayor Cr Steve Krieg and Federal Minister for Emergency Management Senator Murray Watt.