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Major funding agreement for disaster-hit communities signed today

The Lismore App

21 March 2024, 2:06 AM

Major funding agreement for disaster-hit communities signed todayMinister Paul Scully, Minister Jenny Aitchison, Lismore Mayor Steve Krieg, Parliamentary Secretary for Disaster Recovery Janelle Saffin,Premier Chris Minns, Minister Jihad Dib. Photo: supplied

The NSW Government has introduced a new, faster funding pathway to make it easier for Northern Rivers communities to rebuild vital roads and transport infrastructure following natural disasters.


Receiving state government funding has been a criticism of Lismore's rebuild following the February 2022 flood that obliterated the majority of council's assets, this includes roads, vital landslip road repair and the sewage treatment plant. The sewage treatment plants are particularly important as the Resilient Land Program rolls forward and more land is released that is expected to create over two thousand homes which will need to be connected to the sewage system.



The sewage treatment plant rebuild is expected to be a three-year project so time is of the essence making today's announcement vitally important for Lismore City Council.


Lismore City Council Mayor Steve Krieg said, “This is the most significant day in the rebuild and recovery of the Lismore LGA. It’s taken 18 months to get here but now this agreement is signed, all residents of the Northern Rivers should see significant progress toward flood restoration works being completed.

 

“Thank you to the NSW Government and all stakeholders for getting this across the line, it’s been a mammoth effort and will give a real boost to the recovery of our impacted communities.” 


(Lismore Mayor Steve Krieg is about to sign the new agreement while Member for Lismore Janelle Saffin shares a joke with Premier Chris Minns. Photo: supplied)


Parliamentary Secretary for Disaster Recovery and Member for Lismore Janelle Saffin said, “One of the lessons learned from the devastating floods of 2022 is that councils need an injection of funds immediately after a flood event so they can get to work straight away and get communities functioning again.

 

"This new approach is designed to get the money flowing to councils quicker, so they can get on with the work that needs to be done, fixing roads and bridges and essential public buildings and facilities.”



The Tripartite Agreement between the NSW Reconstruction Authority, Transport for NSW and seven local councils will ensure a speedier rollout of reconstruction funds after floods, fires or other natural disasters. 

 

Prior to this agreement, councils had to finance the rebuilding of infrastructure before they could access additional funding from government.

 

Now, councils can access critical funds upfront at each stage of reconstruction, easing financial burdens and making it easier to undertake reconstruction work more quickly.

 


The councils taking part are:

 

  • Ballina Shire Council
  • Byron Shire Council
  • Clarence Valley Council
  • Kyogle Council
  • Lismore City Council
  • Richmond Valley Council
  • Tweed Shire Council

 

The NSW Reconstruction Authority and Transport for NSW are now developing supporting documentation, administrative arrangements and some initial training to implement the agreement with the councils.

 

NSW Premier Chris Minns said, “What we are doing through this agreement is providing certainty that these councils will receive the money when they need it.

 

“The agreement will accelerate reconstruction works and allow funds to flow quicker for future events.”

 

Minister for Planning and Public Spaces Paul Scully said, “This agreement will help communities recover faster by giving councils access to the funds they need to get vital recovery work underway.

 

“Getting critical infrastructure rebuilt and in place to support the recovery effort as soon as possible is precisely what this agreement will facilitate.”

 


Minister for Emergency Services Jihad Dib said, “The damage after floods, fire or any natural disaster can be significant, and this initiative will help speed up the restoration of essential road and transport infrastructure.

 

“The agreement is a clear demonstration of our proactive approach to helping councils get on with the job after natural disasters and build in greater resilience to future events.”

 

Minister for Regional Transport and Roads Jenny Aitchison said, “The deeds between councils and the NSW Government have been signed, and funding will soon start to flow, relieving the cashflow impacts on flood-affected councils.

 

“Quickly restoring our roads and transport infrastructure is vital to setting up the regions for recovery from the floods.

 

“I have been personally meeting with these councils, alongside the Reconstruction Authority and Transport for NSW to help resolve their issues, and I am pleased this will see the quicker restoration of essential roads and transport infrastructure in Northern NSW.”


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