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April 18, 2024

Resilient Lismore’s ‘Repair to Return’ funding

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Resilient Lismore. Photo supplied.

On the eve of the second anniversary of the second devastating flood in 2022, Resilient Lismore has welcomed the finalisation of its funding deed with the NSW Reconstruction Authority, which will enable the continuation of its ‘Repair to Return’ program.

Resilient Lismore Executive Director Elly Bird said that in 2024 the organisation is scaling up its ‘Repair to Return’ project to best utilise the $5 million funding. 

‘Repair to Return was formerly known as the “Two Rooms Project”, which used volunteer labour to construct walls in two rooms of badly flood-damaged homes,’ said Ms Bird yesterday.

Qualified tradespeople

‘Repair to Return has evolved as we have secured funding, and now we engage qualified tradespeople to do the work. Our scope has expanded to provide partial repair of homes, including kitchens, bathrooms and other critical repairs.’

Ms Bird said that after nearly two years of our home repair work being privately funded by local organisations and philanthropists, Resilient Lismore is very grateful that the NSW Reconstruction Authority is providing this additional funding so that they can continue to help people return to safe and secure homes.

‘It’s a significant milestone for us and we extend our gratitude to Premier Minns and his government; to the Emergency Services Minister Jihad Dibb and of course to Janelle Saffin the Member for Lismore who secured this funding commitment for our work.’

The Repair to Return program provides qualified trades assistance to owner-occupiers who were living in the affected property at the time of the disaster and who still need to live there. 

The priority homes

The priority is people who can’t progress their recovery on their own and vulnerable people, Work is done is Lismore and in downstream communities, including Coraki, Woodburn, Wardell, Bungawalbin and others. ‘We have a regional footprint,’ said Ms Bird.

The work does not include renovations or total rebuilds. ‘We help people repair their homes so they have somewhere safe and secure to live,’ said Ms Bird. ‘There is a high level of need so there might be a waitlist depending on the situation and the work that is required. We can’t guarantee that we can help everyone but we are doing our best to help as many people as we can.’

‘People just need to talk to us to see what we can do.’

Ms Bird said there was still a mountain of work to do for the Northern Rivers to build back and develop resilience for future events. 

A community-led initiative

Amanda Leck, Head of Adaptation, Mitigation and Reconstruction at the NSW Reconstruction Authority, said supporting the Repair to Return program was a practical example of the organisation backing a community-led initiative that clearly works.

‘The work in Lismore is not just about buying back homes and rolling out our Resilient Lands Program, it’s about restoring a community and maintaining its unique identity for the long term,’ she said.

‘We know we can’t stop disasters from occurring, but we can do more to prepare and prevent the worst of their impacts.

‘It’s critical we’re better prepared for future disasters with Councils and local community leaders and will develop local Disaster Adaptation Plans that consider all possible options.’

Here for the long haul

Ms Bird said Resilient Lismore is here for the long haul. ‘This is our community: our staff and volunteers are from this community. We love it, we are here to help the people we live alongside, and we are committed to helping our region not just to survive but to thrive.’


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2 COMMENTS

  1. Just how resilient is it to keep on putting people in the path of massive floods?
    True resilience would mean adapting to reality and moving people permanently out of the flood zone.

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