It’s great news that the state has committed $800 million to fund important measures by which individual property owners can decrease their future flood risk and the damage bill for future floods.
The three measures of buy-back, wet-proofing, and house-raising are actions listed in the Shire’s floodplain plans as adopted over the last decade. The measures will help us keep our community networks intact – people will now be able to stay, and to live and work, in relative safety. They will make properties more affordable, by making them less liable to flood damage. They are a form of ‘betterment’.
I want to shout out to all the amazing people who lobbied for this over the last eight months, despite many themselves being heavily impacted by the 2022 flood events. That includes individuals like Sasha Mainsbridge, Bec Talbot, Noelle Maxwell, and Svea Pitman – people who took the time and had the composure to explain to authorities how to house-raise or wet-proof, and what the hurdles were (funding being one of those).
It includes our state MP Tamara Smith, who pushed the case for us in Macquarie Street. It includes many residents’ groups representing towns like Mullumbimby, Brunswick Heads, Ocean Shores, South Golden Beach, New Brighton. And a big thanks to Byron Shire Council staff and councillors, who listened to residents and also lobbied hard.
We will all be watching to see how adequate the funding is. The nominal 2,000 properties across the Northern Rivers will not cover all buildings flooded in 2022. Sadly we don’t yet have technical reports on the flood events. They would make it clear which buildings were flooded above their approved floor level.