ABOVE: The Jett family home in Broadwater was flooded in 2022. Photos: Contributed
Julian Jett received a call at 2pm yesterday, Monday June 26, informing him he wasn’t getting any government money to raise his flooded home. He wasn’t getting anything.
The call was from a Service NSW staff member on behalf of the Northern Rivers Reconstruction Corporation.
The person making the call was “unable to answer” Mr Jett’s questions.
He was told he could appeal the decision.
“I was gutted,” he said.
“We’ve spent $130,000 in the last six weeks to raise the house.”
The Jett family home in Broadwater was flooded up to the roof in the 2022 floods. Mr Jett was hoping to have some of the money he has spent reimbursed.
He is one of many who have received calls about their ineligibility for a buyback, house-raising or retrofit of their flooded homes.
“They promised everyone,” Mr Jett said.
“We have been waiting for the government. If they knew it was a No, they should have said.
“This is a big slap in the face.”
The Resilient Homes Program has been in the pipeline for eight months.
The flood maps released by the Northern Rivers Construction on June 13 added to the confusion residents had been feeling in the 16 months as they waited to hear the fate of their homes.
On top of this further layer of disappointment is the confusion about numbers.
The NRRC has been saying 2000 homes would get buybacks, 2000 houses would be raised and 2000 would be retrofitted.
These numbers gave hope to residents such as Mr Jett.
Concerns were raised at community meetings in Broadwater and Woodburn about the Resilient Homes Program being Lismore-based.
NRRC chief executive David Witherdin reassured residents about the numbers.
NSW Reconstruction Authority chief executive Simon Draper announced today, Tuesday June 27, that the Northern Rivers Reconstruction Corporation will be merged into the statewide authority.
Mr Draper said the goal was always to financially support 2000 in total. This leaves 4000 registered homeowners totally out of the loop.
IndyNR.com has repeatedly asked the NRRC for numbers on buybacks in Richmond Valley and Kyogle.
For the past two weeks, we have pushed for the numbers.
The NRRC is still not parting with that information.
And Mr Draper would only confirm the numbers for the Northern Rivers overall in the Resilient Homes Program.
Here they are:
118 contracts issued
12 properties settled
“Homes destroyed or severely damaged are first in the queue,” Mr Draper said.
“To buy back 2000 homes, we’d need $1.3billion.”
Anyone who has been advised they are eligible can seek a review, Mr Draper said.
“There may be further opportunities for these homeowners.”
An independent panel makes the decision about homes getting financial support.
An NRRC spokesperson said it was clear that across the Northern Rivers there was a need for more buybacks, which are costlier than house raisings or retrofits.
“This has led to around 1100 homes being prioritised for buyback under the program,” the NRRC said.
“Homeowners are being contacted to inform them of the prioritisation based on the greatest risk to life in most future flood scenarios, with the most homes being prioritised in the Lismore local government area, followed by Tweed.
“As of June 26, 158 home buyback offers have been accepted with 12 settlements completed, as well as 60 buyback offers made in South Lismore. These numbers are expected to continually rise over coming weeks.”
Today, Tuesday, June 27, NSW Reconstruction Authority chief executive Simon Draper announced that the Northern Rivers Reconstruction Corporation will be merged into the statewide authority.
Read more about the Northern Rivers Reconstruction Corporation being merged into the statewide Reconstruction Authority here.