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August 12, 2022

Aboriginal community launches Bundjalung Nation Flood Response

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At the launch of the Bundjalung Nation Flood Response, Lismore resident Vicki Youngberry with CEO Currie Country Arabella Douglas, Mark Youngberry and Marion Conrow of South Lismore. Photo courtesy Arabella Douglas.

The Aboriginal community continues to lead the way when it comes to flood response. Yesterday key stakeholders gathered on the Ngunya Jargoon IPA lands at Wardell to present the Bundjalung Nation Flood Response.

The 38-page submission is on behalf of and with the full support of Jali LALC, Bogal LALC, and Bandjalang RNTB and documents the impacts and recommendations from Aboriginal community in response to the catastrophic weather and flood event that impacted the northeast coast of NSW in the area known to the First Nation’s Peoples as the Bundjalung Nation.

Politicians and councillors at the event were Lismore councillor Vanessa Elkins, Ballina Shire Mayor Sharon Cadwallader and Member for Lismore, Janelle Saffin.

A voice at the table

The report will be submitted to the Flood Enquiry to ensure that Aboriginal communities and key stakeholders have a voice at the table with what CEO of Jali LALC called ‘Black led solutions to bring people home.’

Findings include a failure to resource and prepare Aboriginal organisations for disaster response, inadequate planning that is not informed by First Nation Science and an under-resourced responses from all tiers of government.

The media, invited politicians and community members and impacted flood victims who appear in the report were addressed by Rebecca Wood, CEO of Bogal LALC, Warren Williams, Chair of Bandjalang RNTB, Chris Binge CEO of Jali LALC and Arabella Douglas, CEO Currie Country.

Instructive and directive

The Report is instructive and directive, and makes 13 key recommendations including the creation of a Human and Social Recovery Group with First Nation representation, the inclusion of flood overlay mapping informed by First Nation local knowledge in all planning schemes and the introduction of property buy-back schemes for those vulnerable to frequent flooding.

With communities in Coraki and surrounds still waiting on temporary housing options, and with consultation and solutions for First Nations communities not forthcoming one message from Arabella Douglas of Currie Country was clear: ‘We won’t wait for Government’.

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