Minister’s visit comes with $100million announcement for flood resilience projects

Mayor Robert Mustow with Minister Murray Watt next to the Richmond River near Coraki.

Susanna Freymark

The politicians were in town for a good reason — not just to listen or talk but to announce funding.

Federal Minister for Emergency Management Murray Watt stood on the banks of the Richmond River today, Friday, July 28, to announce $100million for flood resilience projects across five council shires.

The funding is the second part of $150million with $50 million announced in February.

Mr Watt was at a property on the Coraki-Woodburn Rd where work was about to start on the Dairy Flat section of road funded by the $50million announced in February.

Machinery was by the road ready to begin work.

How much of the $100million announced today does Richmond Valley get?

$18million to raise Tatham Bridge

$150,000 to improve Coraki and Woodburn drains

$50,000 to address the data gaps in floor level recording as there were 100 dwellings without floor level records, in places such as Bentley and the upper parts of Bungawalbin Creek catchment including Rappville that would benefit 2500 residents by improving flood records.

Richmond Valley was also included in the $6.2million project Heal the Rivers Flood Recovery and Landscapes Restoration project and the riparian vegetation and reforestation across Clarence, Richmond, Tweed and Brunswick catchments.

Mr Watt said the Federal Government was in “for the long haul”.

“We know the job is far from done when it comes to recovering from the floods,” Mr Watt said.

“We have a lot more work to do.”

More than 300 projects were put forward by councils and community groups and 36 have been approved. The projects selected were recommended by the CSIRO.

When asked about buybacks, Mr Watt said he was aware 1100 buybacks were announced by the State Government.

“I’m aware this is well below community expectation and we are in discussion re potential funding for more buybacks,” he said.

Richmond Valley mayor Robert Mustow met with Mr Watt and thanked him for travelling to Richmond Valley.

“This first round of funding we got for the dip here at Dairy Flat. The road between Coraki and Woodburn, after the floods just stays for four or five days. The kids can’t get to school, there’s no access — this will fix that,” Mr Mustow said.

Ballina scored $48million to raise evacuation routes.

Mr Watt said it was “important to continue coming back to the Northern Rivers to demonstrate to the local community they haven’t been forgotten”.

Plenty of press were there for the minister’s flood funding announcement. Photos: Susanna Freymark

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