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The aftermath of flooding in Lismore.

The aftermath of flooding in Lismore.

Councils welcome emergency $1 million disaster payments

Disaster recovery funding of $1 million each has gone to councils hardest hit by NSW’s devastating floods – with the number of recipient councils expected to increase as torrential rail continues to bucket down across the state.

Local Government NSW President Cr Darriea Turley AM today welcomed the initial emergency funding, provided jointly to more than 45 councils by the NSW and Federal governments under Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements (DRFA).

She said the initial $1 million payment to impacted councils was expected to be followed by further funding under DRFA.

“This is all positive news at a time when things are looking incredibly bleak for so many local government areas,” Cr Turley said.

“Right now, our mayors, councillors and council staff are out on the frontlines fighting to save homes and businesses in their communities, including their own.

“It’s really, really tough out there, and when the water subsides the hard work of clean-up and recovery begins.

“Local Government Minister Wendy Tuckerman has recognised that councils carry a particularly heavy load during the recovery phase as they try to get community infrastructure, including local roads, back into action.

“These payments of $1 million per council are already being deposited in council accounts, allowing immediate action and avoiding the costly delays that can drag out the process and traumatise the community even further.

“I commend the Minister and the Government for acting as swiftly as possible in this regard, given the vast extent of damage right across the state.”

Cr Turley said she was also pleased to see the Minister had asked the Office of Local Government to reinstate the Local Government Emergency Recovery Support Group.

The Group – first established during the bushfires of NSW’s Black Summer in 2019 – allows councils that are not impacted by the floods to help those that are, by providing staff, heavy plant and equipment, and other resources.

“In 2019, councils came forward to offer everything from trucks and bulldozers to individuals ready to man phones, so that exhausted council workers - many of whom had been personally impacted - could take a break from the frontline,” Cr Turley said.

“Councils that have not been impacted upon by the current floods are standing by to offer that same support following the current disaster.

“We’re the grassroots level of government and we know how to get support out there where it is needed, quickly and efficiently.

“I couldn’t be more proud of the work being done by our councils and their people today and every day and, as LGNSW President, I can assure everyone we will be standing with you ensuring you receive the support you need.”

Council applications for the special one-off variation will close on 29 April, with decisions expected from IPART by 21 June 2022.