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May 12, 2021

Seven Tweed businesses to swap flood-prone land

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Lyndon Poirrier, Raine-anne Bourke, Joseph Bosnich, Mayor of Tweed, Councillor Katie Milne, Council General Manager, Troy Green, Carol Allsop, Josh Bedser, Nicole and Stephan Dickinson, Council’s Acting Manager Land & Economic Development, Ray Musgrave, Tweed Shire Council, Jenny Land and Council’s Manager Infrastructure Delivery, Tim Mackney.

If there’s one thing we learned from the 2017 floods in the Northern Rivers, is that there are some things that are just in the wrong place.

Looking to the future, the chance of flooding is as high as it ever was and seven local businesses have been endorsed for Tweed Shire Council’s Industry Central Land Swap Project and may permanently relocate their operations out of the flood-prone area.

Ex-tropical cyclone Debbie caused major flooding throughout the Tweed with many businesses severely affected. Since then Tweed Shire Council has developed a strategy and purchasing14.02 hectares of flood-free land at Industry Central, Murwillumbah, thanks to funding from the NSW Government to create resilience and protect local jobs.

The award-winning initiative allowed eligible landowners to enter an expression of interest process to swap their flood-prone land with Council-owned, flood-free land.

Following a rigorous third-party assessment, Council has voted unanimously at the November 2019 Council meeting to endorse eight local organisations to sign up to the arrangement.

Seven successful applicants

The successful applicants are all long-term local businesses including: 30 Marine Parade Pty Ltd; All Home Products and Improvements; H & EJ Williams Pty Ltd; Mick Bourke Transport; Murwillumbah Truck Centre; North Commercial Pty Ltd (Hayes Steel); and, O’Connors Transport Murwillumbah.

Tweed Shire Council will also be relocating its Council Depot, where extensive machinery and equipment was damaged in the flood in 2017.

The next phase of the project involves the preparation of allotment allocation plans, execution of Land Exchange Agreement Deeds and the preparation of contracts for sale of land. When this work is complete Council will commence the task of undertaking the land subdivision.

Ten years to rebuild and relocate

Businesses will have up to 10 years to rebuild and relocate and their former flood-prone land will be ‘back zoned’, most likely for community uses, in order to remove physical impediments from the flood plain.

Council’s Acting Manager Land and Economic Development Ray Musgrave said hundreds of jobs were heavily impacted by the 2017 flood and this is a step towards protecting those that were most severely affected from future flooding.

‘The relocation of these businesses to flood-free land will give them long term resilience to climate change and give them the confidence to invest and grow their businesses in the future and we expect that this project will protect existing jobs as well as creating new job opportunities,’ said Mr Musgrave.

‘This land swap deal is the result of an initiative that was cleverly designed by Tweed Shire Council just 10 days after the flood. It demonstrates both State and Local government commitment to ensuring the sustainability of our community-based businesses’.

For more information visit https://www.yoursaytweed.com.au/landswap.

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  1. Common sense meets climate change adaptation. Brilliant initiative hopefully it will continue and other councils will start adopting similar programs. The 2017 flood was the new record for the Tweed, as predicted under climate change severe weather scenarios. All local catchments from the Brisbane River to the Bellinger have experienced one of their top two record floods ever, all since 2007. Flood frequency remains unchanged, but magnitude has increased. Adaptations are all we can control.

  2. We are having record and catastrophic events, however, the blanket statement, that “all local catchments from the Brisbane River to the Bellinger have experienced one of their top two record floods ever, all since 2007” doesn’t look like it holds, at least with regard to Lismore. For the record, Lismore’s biggest recorded floods were in ’54 and ’74. They were both 12.17 metres. Unless I’m mistaken, adjusted for the lower AHD used since the 90’s, those two floods reached just 50 millimetres shy of 13 metres! There was a 10.38 in 2009 and a 11.59 in 2017 in Lismore, but they were well below 13 meters. Indigenous history passed down shows that we’ve likely had relativity recent floods higher than those which is frightening to think of.


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