Flood recovery is still a work in progress

Billinudgel's main street underwater. Photo Jeff Dawson.

Billinudgel’s main street underwater during the recent floods. Photo Jeff Dawson.

Aslan Shand

As more people recover from the effects of Cyclone Debbie the Mullumbimby & District Neighbourhood Centre (MDNC) is reminding people that the full impacts of the floods are now being felt.

‘There is support as the full impact starts to become evident and impact on emotional health and wellbeing,’ said MDNC coordinator Julie Williams. ‘Come into the neighbourhood centre or call the free Mental Health Flood Support Line on 1300 137 934.’

The MDNC is able to provide financial assistance for essential items through community support and emergency relief funds and information about, and referral to, appropriate services.

The Salvos will continue to be available at the MDNC and disaster welfare officers will be available Thursday April 27 to assist with completing the NSW disaster assistance grants applications.

‘We’re encouraging people to follow through with an application,’ said Williams.

‘Even though it isn’t an immediate outcome it is available to help recover as they restore what has been lost.’

Nutritious hot meals are cooked up at the centre Monday to Thursday.


Billinudgel was hard hit, with residents and many of the businesses affected.

‘Up until now we as a community have missed out and been left in the cold,’ said Damon Robbins from Billinudgel Picture Framing and Art Gallery. ‘As a community we feel quite betrayed.’

The community is coming together to form a steering committee that can begin to look at how local, state and federal government can begin to assist them.

‘We are going to be calling the local, state and federal representatives, and keep calling, until we have an adequate response,’ said Robbins.

Many businesses were affected by stormwater for the first time and questions have been raised about the maintenance of stormwater drains, capacity of the river and the impact of the freeway being asked. ‘There are a number of businesses that won’t be reopening,’ said the Billinudgel Hotel publican Ken Barnham.

‘North Byron has been neglected for a long time,’ continued Robbins. ‘We’ve decided to move as a community to tackle planning and maintenance at all levels of government to ensure it is being done.’

Businesses in Billinudgel are joining the North Byron Business Chamber, formed last year, so that there is a business chamber that can focus on the needs of businesses in the north.

An invitation has been sent out to local businesses in Billinudgel to meet with Euan Ferguson, the flood recovery coordinator for the northern rivers region, at Mullumbimby Council Chambers on Wednesday April 26, 6–8pm.

If you would like to support Billinudgel getting back on its feet, head down to the next Nudge Nudge Wink Wink on Sunday May 7 from 2pm at the Billinudgel Hotel. All funds raised will be combined with their gofundme page ( to support their local town.

Bangalow CWA

Giving heart to people of Lismore affected by the floods was provided by the Bangalow CWA who were requested to make ten heart flags for flood relief. ‘They asked if we could make ten heart flags for them to hang up to help with morale,’ said Shirley Boyle the Bangalow CWA handicraft officer.

They also acted as a flood donation site and the Bangalow CWA have now passed on all the flood donations received to the Lismore flood appeal and are no longer receiving donations.

Financial donations continue to be welcome for Lismore, Murwillumbah and Billinudgel as these communities continue to recover.

Bangalow CWA also turned their attention to Nepal and the recent landslides with the aid of students from Newrybar primary school over the last two Thursdays.

‘The kids came in to make toy chickens to sell to raise funds to send money to Nepal to buy things for local schools,’ continued Shirley.

‘We bought the lot. We helped them raise money and we can the donate the chickens to other children.’

Byron Shire Council

Byron Shire Council has now finished kerbside collections of flood-damaged rubbish except by special arrangement. Residents who have been unable to dispose of flood-damaged waste owing to extenuating circumstances are asked to contact Council on the Resource Recovery Hotline 1300 652 625 within the next week to discuss their situation.


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