ABOVE: Vaughan Macdonald, left, at the Woodburn SES. Photo: Susanna Freymark
Richmond Valley Council general manager Vaughan Macdonald gave an update on the flood recovery on a video posted to the council’s Facebook page.
“This flood has knocked around our local economy and our businesses.
It was good to see the Rod ‘n’ Reel in Woodburn open for a community event.
It’s time for people to have some hope. To have some positivity.
Here in Woodburn, it’s really important to get businesses up and running quickly.
This region needs business. More government support will help that happen quicker.
In Broadwater we had other big industry impacted with damage to the sugar mill, Cape Byron Power and sugar cane fields and farmers.
They are all inter-independent. We need all three of them to come back to normality to get the sugar harvested mid-year.
We are advocating for them to get some funding to help them get their business restored.
We are advocating for temporary short-term housing and also medium- and long-term housing.
We’re pushing hard for some housing in Coraki, and also Evans Head to support Woodburn and Broadwater.
This region needs more housing.
If we can get some housing stock rolling over the next year or two so people can have better accommodation.
We’ve got opportunities in and around Casino in excess of a thousand new lots.
We need support and infrastructure spend.
Some of the feedback we’re getting is that payments are not hitting people’s pockets as quickly as it need to.
We’re advocating for that to happen.
Our message to the government is to make sure it gets to the right people and it gets to them quickly.
We need plumbers, electricians. We need all the trades that go into rebuilding a region.
This region has been significantly impacted. The long-term economic impact is in the hundreds of thousands.
Our rural areas have farms damaged, fences, loss of equipment in floodwaters.
Programs to support our rural folk to get going again is what is really required.
We encourage the Federal and State governments to get those programs rolling.
This recovery will take us at least a couple of years. It’s a long haul, but we’ll get through it.