Professor Mary O’Kane AC and former NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller APM listening to the stories of Tweed residents impacted by the flood during their public hearing at Tumbulgum Hall on 4 May 2022.
Mayor of Tweed Shire Chris Cherry said she was impressed with the expansive work and detailed consideration evident in the Independent Flood Inquiry report released yesterday.
Releasing the 323-page report in Lismore yesterday, Premier Dominic Perrottet said of the 28 recommendations made by the report’s authors, Professor Mary O’Kane AC and former NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller APM, his government had accepted 6 immediately with the remaining 22 recommendations supported in-principle, pending further work and consultation with key stakeholders.
Some key recommendations include:
Reshaping Resilience NSW to become Recovery NSW to ensure a more streamlined agency focused on the first 100 days post a disaster
Migration off high-risk floodplains over time using a mixture of planning controls, land swaps, buy-backs and leveraging private investment in new developments
Creation of a full time Deputy Commissioner of Police focused on emergency management
Training for the community to assist with their ability to respond and recover from disasters; as well as greater training and support for the SES
Greater emphasis on affordable housing in the Northern Rivers, with adaptation plans for towns also to be developed over the next 3-5 years.
Cr Cherry said she was pleased with the report’s findings which would take some time to digest.
“There is an incredible amount of data and learnings in this report and I sincerely thank Professor Mary O’Kane and Mick Fullerton for their work and the care and consideration that is evident in the report,” Cr Cherry said.
“It will take a while to digest all of the information. In terms of the 28 recommendations, I am pleased to see a number of Council’s main advocacy points have been incorporated into the final document.
“The combining of the back-end of our SES and Rural Fire Service so they can operate together more seamlessly is a great example of this, as is the training of our community to be prepared for floods in the same way we are prepared for fire.”
However, Cr Cherry said the community had waited long enough and answers were needed now on a comprehensive response to move people off the floodplain.
“The sentence that strikes me most is that the ‘2022 floods must become the catalyst for change in the way governments and the community considers floods and floodplains’,” she said.
“Flood planning and land swap or buy-back programs are one of the main points of interest for Council and I hope we can see a detailed response to this recommendation coming forward as soon as possible.”
Mr Perrottet said the new Reconstruction and Disaster Prevention Authority would begin work immediately on the buyback and land swap schemes, with expressions of interest to be opened by the end of August.
The findings and recommendations followed an extensive Inquiry, which received 1,494 submissions and held 144 meetings with stakeholders, including a community forum at Tumbulgum on 4 May 2022.
Council also made a written submission to the inquiry following its adoption at the May Council meeting.
Tweed Shire was severely hit by the record February-March flood, with more than 2,100 homes damaged and an estimated 1,600 residents displaced by the event. Council estimates the damage to public infrastructure, including roads and Council buildings, will cost up to $100 million to repair.
To view the full Independent Flood Inquiry Report, visit nsw.gov.au/nsw-government/projects-and-initiatives/floodinquiry.
An aerial shot of the Tweed River at Chinderah during the February-March 2022 flood.
Photo 1: Independent Flood Inquiry - Tumbulgum
Caption: Professor Mary O’Kane AC and former NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller APM listening to the stories of Tweed residents impacted by the flood during their public hearing at Tumbulgum Hall on 4 May 2022.
Photo 2: Chinderah - flood 2022
Caption: An aerial shot of the Tweed River at Chinderah during the February-March 2022 flood.
Connection to Council’s Community Strategic Plan:
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