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Byron Shire
May 18, 2024

Editorial – A solemn anniversary

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A year ago, on February 28, Byron Shire and the entire north coast was hit by the worst floods and landslides in living memory.

So – how is future preparedness going?

At a local level, councillors seem fairly tone deaf to the trauma, and want to push ‘affordable housing’ on flood-prone land.

If elected on March 25, NSW Labor say they would prohibit that.

Meanwhile, the Department of Planning and Environment (DPE) are still sitting on a flood report for the Northern Rivers, which should have been delivered last December.

Such information is vital, so that Councils can tweak planning instruments, like flood levels for future developments. 

And just last week, SMH (Nine) reported that flood warning systems remain inadequate, according to the SES Commissioner. Reporters Catherine Naylor and Heath Gilmore write, ‘More than 50 gauges measuring rainfall and river heights malfunctioned during the flood’.

Despite $15 million being splashed at the DPE by the federal government in August ‘to improve the rainfall and river gauge network across 62 flood-stricken local government areas’, SMH report the work would not be completed until June 2025.

That doesn’t appear very urgent.

Another urgent action is to install a flood pump generator for South Golden Beach.

The pump failed after the power was cut during last year’s flood, and a generator could provide protection from future power failures.

Thankfully, the federal government’s National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has awarded Council $183,446 to purchase one. When asked if the generator is on its way, Phil Holloway, Director Infrastructure Services, told The Echo, ‘This project was identified as a priority after the floods last year, in consultation with Essential Energy. With confirmation of the funding, Council will now be able to design and procure the equipment. We are expecting it will be installed by December 2023’.

There’s also the Northern Rivers Resilience Initiative, which is a $150 million CSIRO project ‘to understand flood risk factors in the Northern Rivers region of NSW and identify flood mitigation options’.

This includes aeroplane flyovers with LiDAR sensors attached, to ‘collect accurate digital elevation models for the region for hydrodynamic modelling’.

From July 2022 to May 2024, CSIRO say, ‘detailed hydrological modelling’ will be undertaken, along with ‘targeted stakeholder engagement’.

There’s a lot to do – the federal government need to ensure that the communications sector provides robust infrastructure in the age of climate change – we found out last year that they haven’t been.

Meanwhile, a series of flood anniversary events are underway.

This Sunday March 5, a community event will be held at the Stan Robinson Park, at Council’s chambers in Mullum. The event will run from 10am till 2pm, say organisers, and includes a barbecue by SES members. There will also be live music, arts activities, weaving, and the Red Cross DROP – which is an acronym for disaster recovery of people’s stories. 

For more information, visit www.byron.nsw.gov.au/flood-anniversary-events.

Hans Lovejoy, editor

News tips are welcome: [email protected]


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6 COMMENTS

    • Barrow, I’m no defender of PM Albotross but you playing your silly little games again.
      It quite easy to find out what PM Albotross was up to on 28 February 2023.
      You’ve got the keyboard, you got the itchy fingers, all you need to do is dial up pm.gov.au
      Now hop to it old son.

      And Barrow, in further news just for you, you’ll be very pleased to know that National Emergency Management Minister Murray Watt, NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet and NSW Labor Leader Chris Minns were there.

      • Joachim FYI i was there also … the funding
        Is not coming from the states ..it’s federal
        “Taxpayer’s ” .. the roll-out of promised
        Buybacks has been caught up in red tape
        With unelected bureaucrats.. not good enough Joachim , desperate home owners
        Having no choice but to sell ..because of interest rate rises and unliveable conditions..
        Now we must not forget it was you and others
        Scathing of the Morrison Government regarding its response to the flooding events
        In lismore and surrounding areas.. yet was it not Morrison who offered the Army to help
        But were turned away by the SES .. absolutely
        Political decisions.. how many broken promises has Albo racked up thus far Joachim ? Never broke his promise to
        The LGBTQ Communities events over the last few weeks .. or the tennis .. etc.. yet one of the worst flooding events in history..
        One year on .. not one single Buyback to date .. and where’s Albo ? MIA ..

  1. The flood response;
    – ex-PM Morrison deserved all the criticism that was sent his way like with; the initial $’sdifferent grant amounts depending upon which Fed electorate you lived in / ie how you voted, before he fixed it due to the public outrage; visiting Lismore and playing with his squeegie on the indoor floor just to provide PR for the media as he scuttled out the back door and made his escape from awaiting flood victims who just wanted to talk and and get some answers; the Army business, any help is always welcome but it isn’t the role of Army to always be responders of first resort which has been acknowledged by authorities. More preparation to deal with the immediate aftermaths needs to be addressed.
    -new-PM Albotross I’ll agree with you that the buyback business is way, way too slow. On a federal level, if it was good enough shovelling out $’stensofbillions during Covid in short time order, then there no excuse with the delays in the flood disaster buybacks.

    • Point taken Joachim ! However time after
      Time labor moaning about the previous government leaving a massive Debt
      For incoming Labor … Hello !! It would have been
      More if labor had their way .. labor were whining
      It was not enough on the handouts .. yet how ironic
      Labor after how long ? Still complaining the Morrison Government left labor with a trillion
      Dollar debt .. half of this was the handouts during
      The covid debacle.. no mention of this .. !!
      Of course not .. most punters know this ..

  2. Barrow, on Covid;
    – ex-PM Morrison played a loose game with respect to; Pandemic preparedness (PPE and health/care staff) , Aged and Disability care settings protection, Vaccines.
    – new-PM Albotross is even worse then Morrison in respect of Covid impact in Aged care settings, which have been turned into ‘killing fields’ – the mass slaughter under Labor is unforgivable.
    We / Australia should have a Royal Commission into Covid but we won’t get it as both LibNat and Lab don’t won’t the exposure.

    National debt, Covid and S’s;
    The LibNat Feds doubled the national debt they inherited from Labor before Covid came calling.
    So best not pretend that LibNat debt inherited by Labor is all to do with Covid and nothing to do with LibNatthem.
    And yes the debt blew out with all the $’sCovid support but here again the LibNat didn’t help their cause when they threw away some $’s40billions Covid support to companies that didn’t need it – didn’t need it in accordance with their own S’sCOvid qualification criteria – indeed, some $’s20billions was given away to companies that actually INCREASED their profits during the Covid pandemic but the LibNat government had zero interest in having that ‘$s20billions repaid. The irony of this is not lost when we had the LibNat chasing innocent Aussies to the grave with their RoboRobberyDebt abomination.

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