How do you tell 4000 families they have missed out? Questions on flood funding debacle

ABOVE: Question Time in State Parliament.

Susanna Freymark

Today in Parliament Question Time, State MP Richie Williamson asked about the dramatic change in the number of homes eligible for financial support since the floods last year.

“In October last year, the Northern Rivers Reconstruction Corporation said 6000 homes would be eligible for flood treatment with 2000 buybacks,” Mr Williamson said.

“Yesterday, the Reconstruction Authority head said 2000 homes in total would be eligible.”

Then came the zinger question.

“How do you explain to the 4000 families that they have missed out?” Mr Williamson said.

Minister for Planning and Public Spaces Paul Scully responded.

“The previous government didn’t allocate money for tranche 2,” Mr Scully said.

“Referring to a statement in October last year, the prime minister (Anthony Albanese) and premier of the day (Dominic Perrottet)  said the $700million Resilient Homes program would allow about 2000 homes to be bought, raised or retrofitted.

“It was not a buyback of 2000.”

Mr Scully said it was clear that elements of the buybacks had not been communicated clearly to the people of the Northern Rivers from the outset by the previous government

“A statement was made by an NRRC spokesperson that was unfunded,” Mr Scully said.

“I have asked for that statement to be explained.”

An explanation is what residents want. Their hopes and plans for flood recovery have been dashed by party political ineptness.

Mr Scully said, “under this government the funding allocated will fund 1100 buybacks”.

He said a further 340 properties would be eligible for home raising and retrofit.

That number is far short of the 4000 promised for raising and retrofit.

“The member for Lismore has been in my ear,” he said, referring to Janelle Saffin.

“We’re listening to community concerns; we have not closed the door to further options

“I want to make it clear, this was not funded under the previous government.” wants to know what happens next? Will the State Labor Government pick up tranche 2 of the funding? Will the Federal Government step in?

This sorry state of political affairs leaves communities in Broadwater, Coraki, Woodburn, Bungawalbin and others with nothing.

The funding debacle is totally unacceptable.

Listen to Question Time in Parliament.

State MP Richie Williamson standing and addressing NSW Parliament.

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