It’s not enough – Premier’s funding visit leaves flood-hit residents high and dry

Mike Baird, Lismore mayor Steve Krieg, State MP Janelle Saffin and Premier Chris Minns in Lismore today, September 26. Photo: Contributed

Susanna Freymark

The pollies were in Lismore today, Tuesday, September 26 to make flood funding announcements.

State MP Janelle Saffin met with Premier Chris Minns, Minister for Planning and Public Places Paul Scully, Minister for Emergency Services Jihad Dib and Minister for Housing Rose Jackson.

The focus was on Lismore and the repair of 350 flood affected homes with $5million from the State for Resilient Lismore’s Two Rooms Project.

Last week the State Government announced a new $150million Community Restoration Flood Fund in the Budget to support disaster impacted communities in the Northern Rivers and Central West.

The funding will go towards priority disaster adaptation plans, repair and replacement of critical community assets and improving the resilience of public infrastructure, including bridges and roads

“Everyone who experienced the 2022 floods and is still dealing with the after effects day in and day out understands we have a long road ahead of us and additional support will be required,” Ms Saffin said.

“I welcome the $100million extra funding that has been committed as part of Tranche 2 flood recovery funding for the Northern Rivers – this is for buybacks, house raisings and retrofits, but more is needed.”

Way more is needed, and $100million is way below the extra $700million expected for more buybacks.

In parliament Mr Minns announced a summary of the flood funding.

An extra $121million for the NSW Reconstruction Authority.

$350million for tranche 1 flood recovery funding and $150million for tranche 2.

Federal MP Kevin Hogan said more than 2000 homes were identified as needing to be bought back. A further 4000 applied for a house raising or retrofit.

“What are these families meant to do now?” Mr Hogan said.

We are going to be in a situation where 800 or so households will be bought back from tranche 1 funding. Yet their neighbours won’t be. What does this achieve, how does this keep a community safe?”

Mr Hogan said there had been an expectation that another $700million was needed in Tranche 2 funding.

“This didn’t happen. The Prime Minister and Premier said no one would be left behind.”

State MP Richie Williamson said Northern Rivers residents had been “left short-changed”.

Ms Saffin said no matter who was in power in Sydney, she would fight for the community.

“I know we need much more and I will continue to stand up for us,” Ms Saffin said

Mr Minns said he wanted to see money from the Federal Government as well.

“That’s reasonable and the former Premier I’m sure would tell the House that in those circumstances it was a Commonwealth-State arrangement to fund Tranche 2 so we will be going to the Commonwealth for additional funds for the Northern Rivers, and if they don’t provide it we’ll go it alone and $150million will not be enough,” Mr Minns said.

Read our flood stories here.

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