Barton Deakin Brief: NSW Northern Rivers Flood Response

Date: Apr 2022

Barton Deakin Brief: NSW Northern Rivers Flood Response

13 April 2022

Overview

From late February and in early April 2022 the Australian east coast was battered by severe floods, leaving tens of thousands of citizens seeking physical and financial support. The NSW and Commonwealth Governments have announced a series of support programs and initiatives to assist the flooded Northern Rivers region.

Supports Initially focused on clean-up, housing and financial support, followed by longer-term support for businesses and councils and infrastructure repair. The support of the NSW Government, in conjunction with the Commonwealth, is outlined in this Barton Deakin Brief.

Latest State and Commonwealth Government Assistance

The Perrottet-Toole NSW State and Morrison-Joyce Federal Coalition Governments have announced a package of further recovery initiatives for flood affected people and communities, including:

  • $312.5 million for a Stage 1 Regional Roads and Transport Recovery Package to rebuild road networks, particularly in the Northern Rivers;
  • $168 million for the NSW Land and Housing Corporation to deliver urgent social housing including the replacement of social housing lost during the floods;
  • $120 million for Aboriginal housing including repair and reconstruction of Aboriginal community infrastructure;
  • $100 million for the repair and reconstruction of infrastructure such as libraries, playing fields, playgrounds and parks;
  • $64 million for urgent repair and restoration of key wetlands and riverbank sites; and
  • $36 million for urgent works required to assess and repair flood levees across Northern NSW

Earlier Support Packages

So far, a series of packages nearing $3 billion have been announced by both the NSW and Commonwealth Governments. These include:

Jointly funded NSW State and Federal Support

  • $434.7 million to local government areas for clean-up efforts and removing debris;
  • $551 million, to provide housing and rental assistance to flood affected residents;
  • $300 million to assist with the clean-up and removal of flood and storm-related damage, debris and green waste for all NSW disaster declared LGAs;
  • $248 million for rental support schemes, providing 16 weeks rental support, which has been accessible since the end of March;
  • $150 million for primary industries, targeted at protecting supply chains, including grants for significantly impacted producers, as well as funding for the Primary Industry Recovery and Resilience program, which is aimed at longer-term projects to boost supply chain efficiency; and
  • $142 million to provide assessments and subsequent demolition of properties deemed uninhabitable.

Additional Commonwealth Assistance

  • $50 million for large businesses in key industries in the Northern Rivers to assist the recovery for major employers in the region;
  • Additional direct payments of up to $2,000 for residents in the Lismore, Ballina, Byron, Kyogle, Richmond Valley, Clarence Valley and Tweed LGAs.

Additional State Government Assistance

  • $145 million for urgent water and sewerage infrastructure repairs in the aforementioned Northern Rivers LGAs;
  • $120 million for local councils, including $40 million in grants for urgent operational challenges, and $80 million for councils where residents unable to pay rates;
  • $112 million Back Home grants that will help make homes safe and habitable again by contributing towards the cost of replacing appliances, reconnecting utilities and making necessary repairs;
  • $67 million for Northern Rivers and North Coast education recovery replacing educational resources, improving staff wellbeing, and providing trauma training to support students

Independent Flood Inquiry

The NSW Government announced an independent flood inquiry into the causes of, preparedness for, response to, and recovery from, the NSW flood event. The inquiry will report on causation, land use planning and management by 30 June, and on other matters by 30 September 2022.

 

To access the NSW Government’s flood portal, click here

For more information, contact Andrew Humpherson on +61 419 241 587, Anthony Benscher on +61 438 439 431, Nicholas Dower on +61 419 602 002 or Matthew Harte on +61 431 326 411

 

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