Government slashes funding for flood mitigation while Lismore continues to miss out

In Parliament | 30.07.18

Labor’s candidate for Lismore Janelle Saffin today hosted a visit from Shadow Minister for the Environment Penny Sharpe to talk to Lismore Mayor Isaac Smith, Councillor Bill Moorhouse, and Rous County Council Chair Keith Williams about proposed flood mitigation projects for Lismore.

Budget figures show that grant funding for flood mitigation has been slashed by more than 50% since 2013-14, while today’s visit highlighted that Lismore’s flood mitigation works could start immediately if the NSW Liberal-National Government was willing to fund them.

Grants for flood mitigation have been reduced significantly every year, declining from $20.82 million in 2013-14 to just $9.83 million in 2017-18.

The works for Lismore could be funded if the Government had not cut the funding out of this program.

The budget figures come as the National Party are petitioning their own government – a government that local MP Thomas George is a member of.

Lismore’s flood mitigation projects are shovel-ready, but the Berejiklian-Barilaro Government has horded the available funding rather than committing it towards Lismore’s future.

Two projects that could be started straight away are:

  1. Excavation of the airport floodway at South Lismore, and
  2. A whole-of-catchment flood modelling and EIS to assess and schedule work into the future.

After the March 2017 flood, Labor remains committed to our 11-point plan, including these three elements:

  1. A special one-off specific and targeted fund up to $100 million to assist North Coast local councils with roads, bridges and infrastructure repair directly related to the flood,
  2. A one-off specific and targeted major and significant funding package up to $50 million to assist small, medium and large businesses including primary producers to cover cash flow shortfalls due to stock losses and damaged plant equipment as well as re-building, and
  3. Importantly, Labor committed to increasing the funding available for floodplain management grants within the Office of Environment and Heritage from $31 million to $50 million to assist with measures to improve floodplain risk for local government and around homes and businesses.

Quotes attributable to Shadow Minister for the Environment Penny Sharpe

“It is a cynical exercise to have National Party candidates lobbying their own government when they have cut their own grants funding for flood mitigation – these projects could get underway tomorrow if the Government chose to work with the community rather than conducting this fake lobbying exercise.

“Lismore is now being subjected to the farcical petition of the current Nationals candidate, instead of seeing funding flow from the Government for these critical works.” 

Quotes attributable to Labor Candidate for Lismore Janelle Saffin

These projects don’t need a petition, they need funding today. The National Party are part of the Government and they should be making something happen, not pleading for something to happen. 

“Thomas George has not retired yet, he’s still the Member for Lismore – why isn’t he doing everything in his power to protect Lismore for the future? These projects are ready to go; it’s time for action not petitions.”