LISMORE MP Janelle Saffin’s concerted lobbying of governments to allow for betterment in infrastructure rebuilds from bushfires and flooding is finally reaping major dividends – more than $42 million in funding — for councils in her electorate.
Ms Saffin today (Monday, 27 February) welcomed the Australian and NSW governments’ Regional Road and Transport Recovery Package for 26 disaster-declared LGAs, including eligible councils in the Northern Rivers and Northern Tablelands regions.
“I’ve been banging on to relevant Ministers about the need for betterment since before the Black Summer bushfires and before last year’s flooding,” Ms Saffin said.
“This policy change should have been put in place before the floods but at least we have it now and it should become the norm for how we ‘build back better’, a phrase I actually coined in a conversation with Premier Dominic Perrottet and which has stuck.
“I thank Federal Minister for Emergency Management Senator Murray Watt for sealing the deal on betterment.”
Ms Saffin joined Federal Member for Richmond Justine Elliot MP, NSW Minister for Regional Transport and Roads Sam Farraway MLC and local mayors for the announcement at Ross Lane, Lennox Head.
Local resilience projects among the 57 approved for funding include:
- Lismore City Council – Betterment of strategic causeways in Lismore LGA, $9,966,646.
- Kyogle Council – Betterment of Clarence Way, Sandilands to Bonalbo, $10 million.
- Kyogle Council – Betterment of Grieve Crossing Bridge across the Richmond River, Gradys Creek Road The Risk, $2,461,945.
- Tweed Shire Council – Betterment of Tweed Shire causeways, $9,962,400.
- Tenterfield Shire Council – Betterment of Molesworth Street Bridge & sewer line, Tenterfield, $9,985,776.
Electorate-wide total — $42,376,767.
Ms Saffin said the good thing is that funding for these projects is not dependent on the outcome of the State election on 25 March.
The $312.5 million package, split 50:50 between the Australian and NSW governments, is a pilot program for the 26 eligible councils, which could be rolled out across New South Wales.
BETTERMENT BREAKTHROUGH: Lismore MP Janelle Saffin with, from left, Ballina Mayor Cr Sharon Cadwallader, Tweed Shire Mayor Cr Chris Cherry, Ballina MP Tamara Smith, Byron Shire Mayor Cr Michael Lyon, Federal Member for Richmond Justine Elliot and NSW Minister for Regional Transport and Roads Sam Farraway MLC.