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Byron Shire
June 18, 2024

MP Saffin clarifies claims around flood recovery

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The office of Lismore Labor MP, Janelle Saffin, has made the claim that ‘No government, state or federal, has cut the funding promised for Resilient Homes and Resilient Land programs’ for 2022 flood recovery after reading work experience student Bella Clay‘s article on her flood experiences. 

And despite campaigning along with other north coast leaders for the promised $1.5b, which was presented to parliament – her office blamed the former head of the Northern Rivers Reconstruction Corporation, David Witherdin, for making that figure public.

The Echo asked Ms Saffin if she had given up on securing the $1.5b, as promised?  

She replied, ‘I am still advocating to get to the $1.5b for the Northern Rivers and the seven mayors, and four MPs sought the additional $350m in tranche 2, as we called it, and we secured $100m of that from the NSW Premier’. 

‘There is some commentary about having to spend it first. I have asked since then, and we as a group are asking collectively again’. 

Additionally The Echo asked ‘How can the public have trust in this government and its RA corporation (now the third incarnation after the last two were a disaster), given the long list of blunders, lack of progress and lack of transparency?’

She replied, ‘I have made it clear that the [former flood agency] NRRC was a basket case, and the NSW Reconstruction Authority inherited that, and is doing some good work, but has been a failure in terms of communications and public information. 

‘They have doorknocked some 5,000 people though’. 

Still $600m short

Local Ballina MP Tamara Smith (Greens) told The Echo  the $1.5b commitment was backed by both the Perrottet government and then Labor opposition leader, Chris Minns, in the 2023 NSW election lead-up.

‘In the months since the 2023 election, it has become clear that Witherdin was either mistaken or misled. 

‘The fact is that we are still $600m short on the money our community was promised by a senior bureaucrat, that was neither corrected or revised by the premier of the day at the 2023 election, nor revised by the then opposition leader, who is now premier. 

‘Even on conservative estimates, and with high inflation, you would have to concede that $600m would assist several thousand households’.

‘I raised with the premier last week that most flood-affected homeowners have either moved on, done the retrofitting or house raising themselves, or left the area’.

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  1. 2 years post The Great Flood and this is the best that Governments state and federal can do.
    Where is PM Albo, “No one held back, no one left behind”?
    But its great that Albo did find some spare Budget$’s…… to give to Gina, Clive, Twiggy etc, their much needed $300 energy bill helpers.
    Poor fellow my country.

  2. I’m not moving on im waiting for the so called discount block of land to move my house to

    So dar all i get is

    We will get back to u

    2.3 years later

    Very boring

  3. So Tamara comes out as a saint but Janelle as a party lackey- typical biased reporting from the echo- greens can do no wrong.

    • Except of course it is your ALP mates in govt – State and Fed – that have failed the flood victims. What is the point of ALP being in government.
      The distraction and diversion Greens nonsense is tiresome but expected in trying to defend the indefensible ALP.

      • Except that the NSW state government is in minority. If the Greens should ever be able to do more than complain – it’s now!

        • Lizardbreath, thank you for informing us that the NSW State Labor Government is in minority government, we had no idea. It is the government and sadly on the Flood issue, a next to useless government.
          Now, about your other mob, Albo and his Federal Labor Government, is in majority government as old chum Keithy likes to remind us of.
          There he was, Albo and that big moment, Albo in Lismore, October 27 2022, the big presser had plenty of nice sounding words from the the Albo.
          The promised help delivery…..???
          But its great to see the urgency in Albo delivering those Budget24 $300 energy bill helpers to the Gina, Clive, Dick, Twiggy etc, A pity the same level of urgency hasn’t been found for helping The Flood Victims, 2 years on and counting.
          Por fellow my country.

          • Indeed Joachim, giving $300 to Gina, Clive, Dick and Twiggy, will be our ruination! You really think you’re on a winner here but you won’t tell me how you’d organised to distribute it.

            What I was getting at is that the Greens can’t keep telling us to vote for them because of everything they’ll achieve on the cross bench of a minority government – but then just continue to throw brickbats while taking no initiative or responsibility.

            Is Tamara conversing/negotiating with the rest of the cross bench to get action. Better to just criticise?

          • Lizardbreath, my apologies, I haven’t been clear enough with my writings.
            Priorities and actioning to deliver, this is the crux of affairs.
            When Billionaires get priority funding – those $300 helpers that I keep stinging you with and hitting a very raw nerve with you – as Flood Victims are still left hanging years later post The Great Flood, it says everything. Not following through on announcements / promises, it doesn’t have to be this way.
            But this not following through isn’t an isolated event. I wrote in another space in the very fine pages of The Echo, the revelation on 28/5/24 that the ALP has massively failed with the Budget23 announcement of $’s1 Billions household electrification scheme. So far, not a dollar spent, households could have been benefiting / $’ssavings off energy bills.
            Not following through on announcements / promises, again, it does now seem to be, The ALP Way.

          • WHAT? They’ve taken more than TWO WEEKS to get to line up the ducks with this scheme ❓ ⁉️ ❓🤯

            Great idea isn’t it? – but let’s just have a big whinge about why the applications haven’t been rubber stamped by now.

            But it seems it’s me who hasn’t made myself clear. What I’m after is HOW YOU WOULD DETERMINE TO WHOM THE ASSISTANCE SHOULD GO. I CANT MAKE IT ANY CLEARER ❗️❗️

            Sorry to disappoint but there’s no sting in your silly carping. I’m just not going to let you off the hook so tell us or look a fool!

          • Lizardbreath, “WHAT? They’ve taken more than TWO WEEKS to get to line up the ducks with this scheme ❓ ⁉️ ❓🤯”.
            Perhaps maths isn’t your strong suit.
            Budget23 delivered on 9/5/23, announced $’s1billions as part of The Household Energy Upgrades Fund. Senate hearing 28/5/24 revealed $’sZero spent.
            Your “TWO WEEKS”, try again.

          • Indeed mea culpa Joachim I was getting the 23 and ‘24 budgets confused – I don’t think that’s a maths issue. I do seem to recall that inclusion in the budget was to get the Greens to agree to something? Maybe it wasn’t a high priority. Anyway like to know a bit more about the reasons given in the senate hearing not just the headline figure.

            But my other mea culpa you seem to have ignored: “ But it seems it’s me who hasn’t made myself clear. What I’m after is HOW YOU WOULD DETERMINE TO WHOM THE ASSISTANCE SHOULD GO. I CANT MAKE IT ANY CLEARER ❗️❗️”

            I know you’ve said (rather lazily) – the same as ‘23. But you haven’t dealt with the obvious fact that this would ignore some of the people most under cost of living pressure. Some granular detail rather that slogans would be good!


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