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March 3, 2024

Flood data shows extent of damage to Byron Shire 

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Mullumbimby in flood during February March 2022. Photo Simon Haslam

More details have emerged around last year’s devastating floods, with Greens MLC Sue Higginson receiving answers on October 17 from questions asked on September 25 to NSW Minister of State, John Graham.

Yet the data provided does not reflect homes lost in landslides, or that were known to be washed away in the hinterland. 

According to the minister’s replies, 817 homes were flooded in Byron Shire in February/March 2022, with 468 in Mullumbimby, 10 in New Brighton, 183 in South Golden Beach, 122 in Ocean Shores, one in Wilsons Creek, two in Upper Wilsons Creek, 26 in Brunswick Heads, and five in Byron Bay.

Lismore City Council recorded 1,585 flooded homes, while 1,648 homes were flooded in Tweed Shire.

Asked how many flood-impacted homeowners in the Byron Shire requested a house buyback, raising, or retrofit, the minister replied in part, ‘There have been 977 program registrations in total within the Byron Shire Council area as of September 29, 2023’.

As for ‘how many flood-impacted homeowners in the Byron Shire have been approved for a house buyback, raising or retrofit’, the minister replied that ‘four buyback offers have been approved for homeowners in the Byron Shire Council area as of September 29, 2023’. He added there have been no house raising or retrofit approvals in Byron Shire as of September 29.

Asked ‘How many flood-impacted houses in the Byron Shire were uninsured, rentals or primary homes’, he replied, ‘This information is not available to the NSW Reconstruction Authority’.

And as for the ‘initial and ongoing cost per modular home for the temporary housing program for flood-affected areas in NSW’, the minister replied in part that, ‘an average cost is unable to be calculated’, owing to, ‘Establishment and ongoing costs [which] vary greatly over location and time’. 

The minister was asked about the breakdown of water levels affecting flooded homes in Byron Shire. He replied that of a total of 817, 157 homes had 1–5mm, 408 had 5–300mm, 188 had 300–1,500mm, eight had 1,500–2,400mm, and two had >2,400mm. 

Not noted were 54 homes.

2022 flood not included

And given the flood mapping was changed to not include the 2022 flood data, the minister admitted that ‘All 977 registered [Byron Shire] homeowners would qualify for assistance under the program if the criteria for assistance was changed to only reflect impacts from the 2022 event’.

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the NSW Reconstruction Authority told The Echo, ‘On June 13, the Northern Rivers Reconstruction Corporation (NRRC) released flood mapping data, which indicated homes prioritised for a buyback offer based on the greatest risk to life for both residents and emergency service responders’.

‘The flood mapping data identifies locations where there is the greatest risk to life and predicted to experience more frequent, high and fast floods in the future’.

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  1. The Flood mapping –
    “2022 flood not included
    And given the flood mapping was changed to not include the 2022 flood data..”, is this someones idea of a cruel joke?

    Yuu Huu PM “No one held back, no one left behind” Albo, your October 2022 presser ….calling MIA Albo, where is ya?


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