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Byron Shire
July 15, 2024

72 house-raises and retrofits announced  

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Flooding across Ballina Island, 2 March 2022. Photo David Lowe.

Seventy-two homeowners in the Ballina electorate will receive government funding to raise and retrofit their flood-affected homes, says local NSW Greens MP, Tamara Smith. 

Despite the announcement giving ‘some clarity to our flood-affected communities’, Ms Smith says the agency tasked with flood-recovery, the NSW Reconstruction Authority (RA), is yet to name those who will benefit from the Resilient Homes program.

Additionally, there were no stats provided on how many Byron Shire homeowners within the Ballina electorate will benefit. 

Ms Smith said, ‘So far, only a dozen or so [local] families have been assisted through the Resilient Homes program, and we have had no detail in terms of how many house-raises and retrofits we will see under the $100 million of tranche 2.’

‘After 28 months of waiting this is going to mean that 72 families and households will be better prepared for the next flood and is life changing for those members of our community.

‘This is a testament to the advocacy and determination of our community in not allowing those in Macquarie Street to forget us and I have backed them in all the way.

Hundreds promised

‘Of course we will not stop lobbying for more, as we were promised that hundreds more families would be assisted to raise their homes out of flood levels or better fit out their homes in the rebuild so that they are more resilient to future flooding.

‘It is devastating for people to be waiting this long for surety about whether they will be assisted under the program. 

‘I have asked that people know as soon as possible if they are one of the 72 so that they can get on with their lives.

‘The state government needs to have an honest conversation with me and with our community about what further funding is coming and how many families will be assisted. I will not allow our people to be hanging in limbo beyond the end of this year.’

A lengthy media release last Thursday by the NSW Reconstruction Authority (RA) says it has moved into its next phase, ‘with tailored home assessments available to make homes more resilient against flooding’.

Awareness limited

As previously reported, the RA stopped publishing their online stats on the progress of its Resilient Homes Program, which limits public awareness of their operations. 

RA’s $790 million Resilient Homes Program includes house-raising, retrofits and buybacks. 

Buybacks were not mentioned in the media release.

Local Lismore MP, Janelle Saffin, has been critical of RA’s lack of communications.

While the media release says ‘approximately 370 homeowners have been identified as eligible for home-raising or retrofit’, this came without a breakdown of local government areas.

Additionally, the information provided in the RA media release repeats already- announced projects, such as $100m for 85 home sites in North Lismore, and ‘more than 2,800 housing sites now in the planning pipeline across the Northern Rivers’. 

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