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Media release

19 April 2022

Tweed Shire Council

Housing, roads, flood resilience and mitigation top wish list

Mayor welcomes new housing package but more targeted help needed

ADF Murwillumbah clean-up

Soldiers help in the clean-up at Murwillumbah after the February 2022 flood. Approximately 500 homes have been declared uninhabitable in the Tweed following the deluge. (Photo credit: ADF.)

Mayor of Tweed Chris Cherry

Temporary and permanent accommodation, rebuilding the battered road network and funding to support flood resilience and mitigation activities top the list of priorities as the Tweed moves into the post-flood recovery phase.

Council is advocating strongly to all levels of government for additional support in the wake of the devastating flood of February 2022, which inundated thousands of homes and damaged more than 2,100 properties, rendering 500 uninhabitable.

The record flood has left a damage bill of an estimated $80 million on Council infrastructure, including more than $50 million in damages to the road network. This figure does not include the cost of damage to businesses and private homes in the Tweed – estimated to be in the hundreds of millions of dollars.

These figures follow the announcement last week (12 April 2022) of an additional $855 million joint flood recovery support package from the NSW and Federal Governments, as well as an additional $350 million package from the NSW Government for temporary housing for flood-affected communities in the Northern Rivers.

The NSW Government also announced today the creation of the Northern Rivers Reconstruction Corporation to oversee recovery of the region.

Mayor of Tweed Shire Chris Cherry welcomed this additional support.

“We are grateful to the NSW Government for their decision to invest in temporary and more permanent housing for residents of the Northern Rivers displaced by the flood,” Cr Cherry said.

“We are seeking an urgent meeting with the new Northern Rivers Reconstruction Corporation to discuss a solution which is specific to the Tweed. Our situation is quite different to that of our neighbours and we need to ensure we meet the needs of our residents moving forward.

“While we welcome pods in certain circumstances, we think they would be better placed on individual’s lands so they can be close to where their family and community are and close to the home they are rebuilding.

“We’ve come a long way in the 7 weeks since the flood with the clean-up nearing an end and emergency repair works giving way to more permanent solutions.

“The streets may look a bit cleaner but the recovery is far from over. We still have several hundred people displaced and in short-term accommodation – many of whom are suffering with not knowing what the future holds.

“We were experiencing a severe housing crisis exacerbated by COVID-19 before the flood: that has now been worsened and housing remains our top concern as we move forward with the recovery.

“We thank the State and Federal Governments for their support to date and will continue to advocate strongly on behalf of the Tweed community as we move to rebuild in a smarter, more flood-resilient way.”

Council has listed the following issues in need of urgent attention, in some order of priority:

1.    Housing

  • An incentive scheme to encourage owners of short-term holiday rental properties to provide longer-term temporary accommodation to flood victims.
  • Purchase of flood-free land for relocation of industrial and residential properties via land swap arrangements or voluntary relocation plans.
  • Expansion of current voluntary house purchase and voluntary house raising schemes.
2.    Roads
  • Support with repair and rebuilding of roads impacted by significant landslides, particularly with those heavily used such as Scenic Drive at Bilambil, Tyalgum Road and Reserve Creek Road.
  • Funding for improved reconstructions that are more resilient to future floods such as Tweed Valley Way at Blacks Drain and Kyogle Road rather than replacing the original infrastructure like-for-like.
  • Review of Pacific Highway accessibility during flood events to prevent the roadway being inundated at Chinderah and cutting the Tweed LGA in half as occurred during this flood event and in 2017.

3.    Flood mitigation

  • Funding for a review of the Murwillumbah CBD Levee and Drainage Study and the recommendations which come from that which are likely to include improved flood pumping systems along with support for greater community and business preparedness.
  • Repair and improvement of the Murwillumbah CBD flood levee.
  • Review of impacts of M1 on flooding.  

4.    Rivers and riverbanks

  • There was extensive damage and flood scouring of riverbanks (up to 30m deep in places) that is significantly impacting and putting at high risk key infrastructure, such as Kyogle Road, Tweed Valley Way and others.
  • Support for cleaning-up rivers and restoration works.

5.    State Emergency Services

  • Funding support for the building / rebuilding of new SES unit facilities in Murwillumbah and Tweed Heads.
  • Upgrade of evacuation centres.
  • Membership drive to increase active members of the SES/ Rural Fire Service, e.g. through payroll concessions.

6.    Community support

  • More funding assistance for organisations supporting communities.

7.    Rebuild and repair costs

  • Assistance for local government with the significant cost to repair buildings and infrastructure.

Meanwhile, Council is working on its submission to the 2022 NSW Flood Inquiry – and is encouraging residents, businesses and community organisations in the Tweed to do the same.

The deadline for inquiry submissions is Friday 20 May 2022, with late submissions considered by people directly impacted by the floods. For more information, visit www.nsw.gov.au/floodinquiry.



Photo 1: Flood 2022 Murwillumbah

Caption: Soldiers help in the clean-up at Murwillumbah after the February 2022 flood. Approximately 500 homes have been declared uninhabitable in the Tweed following the deluge. (Photo credit: ADF.)

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Web: tweed.nsw.gov.au/newsroom
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