11 MPs and mayors push Minns to make good on $1.5billion promise

ABOVE: Premier Chris Minns, left, and former premier Dominic Perrottet, right have said they will support the flood recovery.

Susanna Freymark

Four MPs and seven mayors have sent a letter to the Premier Chris Minns.

They are asking the State Government not to forget the Northern Rivers and to deliver the next part of the flood recovery funding for the Resilient Homes program.

Here is what they wrote:

“We the elected representatives of the Northern Rivers are writing to you to ask you to deliver on tranche two of the Resilient Homes program (RHP) as soon as possible.

Our communities need to know that the funding they believed would come is definitely coming and that the RHP as promised will be completed.

The RHP was initially given funding of $750million, but when officially drawn up and presented to Cabinet the figure stood at $1.5billion. A decision was made by cabinet to fund the first tranche and any commitment to the second tranche would follow.

The then Premier Dominic Perrottet assured us MPs and mayors of this, and also the affected communities.

You will recall this, as yourself as Opposition Leader stated that you would back in what had been done and committed to the region we all represent and then again as Premier on your early visit to Lismore.

We are now asking for tranche two to come sooner than later so that the RHP can be completed.

Some nearly 16 months on from the humanitarian disaster that engulfed our communities we need to know that as promised we will not be forgotten and that we can recover to bring more stability into our communities.

Further to our request for tranche two funding to complete the RHP we request to meet you in person to discuss this matter and the overall matters impacting the flood recovery and rebuild, including the NRRC and its remit. It is fair to say we were disappointed with their ‘maps’ release.

We look forward to your response and working with you on this in a collaborative way that we work together on seminal issues that impact our community.

Yours sincerely,

Janelle Saffin, Member for Lismore

Geoff Provest, Member for Tweed

Tamara Smith, Member for Ballina

Richie Williamson, Member for Clarence

Lismore mayor Steve Krieg

Kyogle mayor Kylie Thomas

Ballina Shire mayor Sharon Cadwallader

Byron Shire mayor Michael Lyon

Tweed Shire mayor Chris Cherry

Clarence Valley mayor Ian Tiley

Richmond Valley mayor Robert Mustow

Across political parties and LGAs, these mayors and MPs want action. This week, the Northern Rivers Reconstruction released flood maps and it is now revealed that the promised 2000 buybacks have been reduced to 1100.

Residents continue to wait. They simply want to know whether they will be offered a buyback, a house-raising, a retrofit or nothing will actually happen.

IndyNR.com has spoken to multiple residents including one today who said they had given up on getting help from the government. They are rebuilding their farm that was severely flooded and are no longer expecting financial support will ever come.

So many residents are wanting to move forward from the catastrophic floods last year, so many of them had hoped for some support.

There have been Back Home grants which cease being available at the end of this month, Business grants and others.

This flood recovery will take five years minimum – we are at the 16-month mark now – and the buybacks, house-raising and retrofits are crucial.

IndyNR.com asked Federal Minister for Emergency Management Murray Watt whether the federal government was going to financially support the flood recovery. This was his rather general reply that offers no detail:

“The Northern Rivers home buyback program is being led by the NSW Government, with funding support from the Albanese Government.

This week, the NSW Government’s Northern Rivers Reconstruction Corporation released new flood mapping and analysis to support the rollout of home buybacks.

The Albanese Government understands the NSW Government will use this information to help prioritise buybacks for residents most at risk of repeated, life-threatening floods.

The Albanese Government will consider any proposal it receives from the NSW Government regarding the home buyback scheme going forward.”

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