The entire Northern Rivers is buzzing with the news that there will be buybacks for some flooded homes in the area.
Greens MP for Ballina, Tamara Smith, told The Echo this morning that the community welcomes today’s announcement of over $800 million. ‘I was very pleased to stand with local MPs, the Prime Minister, and the Premier this morning in North Lismore at the home of Brian Burgin who was flooded to his rooftop and is very keen to apply for a buyback.’
Will people move away?
Ms Smith there will also challenges associated with the scheme. ‘A lot of people won’t want to leave the area and as we know the cost of land and property near Lismore is extremely high, so seeing a mass exodus of community members is in itself a further trauma.’
Ms Smith said the Northern Rivers Reconstruction Corporation (NRRC) needs to use the supposed allocated $100m for house relocations to acquire lands to enable affordable house relocations. ‘We don’t want buybacks to create an exodus of people from our community.
‘Details of who is eligible and the flood heights that impact them needs to be readily available so residents know where they stand in terms of the options available to them.
‘There needs to be clear and consistent communication from the NRRC with residents to enable them to make informed decisions.’
Devil in the detail
Ms Smith said the devil is in the detail. ‘If it’s used to exclude people unfairly there will be resentment and unrest. The support needs to be through the lens of fairness and equity and a genuine desire to get people out of harm’s way.’