A number of South Murwillumbah businesses devastated by the 2017 flood have put their hand up to move their operations to flood-free land, as the result of a $3 million land swap arrangement funded by the NSW Government.
Lismore MP Thomas George (Nationals) made the announcement at Murwillumbah’s Industry Central Estate yesterday.
Mr George praised Tweed Shire Council for its initiative, saying the proposal was on the government’s desk ‘just 10 days after the flood’.
Under the deal, the council will now prepare the 16.11 hectare plot for development and apply for further state government grants to for the cost of infrastructure, such as roads, water and sewer.
Businesses will have up to 10 years to relocate.
The buildings on their former flood-prone land will be demolished and the land rezoned, most likely for community or agricultural uses, in order to remove impediments from the flood plain.
Tweed Mayor Katie Milne, welcomed the funding and the land swap arrangement.
‘I’d like to thank the NSW Government for this funding to assist our local businesses and protect local jobs,’ Cr Milne said.
‘We all remember how devastating last year’s flood was for businesses in South Murwillumbah, so we want to remove those building entitlements and ensure that the next generation will not ever have to sustain what was lost in 2017.
‘We want to keep businesses within the shire, employing people and manufacturing. This has allowed those businesses to have the confidence to reinvest, to grow and to employ more people.
‘Removing these buildings as obstacles in this vital flood flow path will also assist the free flow of flood waters which will help alleviate future flood impacts for the town.
‘Council has worked very hard to bring this important initiative to fruition and this is a significant win for our whole community,’ Cr Milne said.
Priority was given to businesses in high velocity flood areas or of high value (more than 50 employees who lost more than $1 million in the March 2018 flood).
The seven businesses interested in relocating employ around 300 people and include Shoobridge Transport, Williams Timber & Trusses, Hayes Steel and O’Connors Carrying Service.