Aug 17, 2022 | Media Releases, Media Releases 2022

Shadow Minister for Emergency Management, Senator Perin Davey welcomes the release of the NSW 2022 Flood Inquiry Report as well as Premier Perottet’s announcement that the NSW Coalition Government will support all 28 recommendations.

The floods in NSW earlier this year, like the drought before, broke records. For many it was the third, and in some cases, the fifth flood they had experienced in the last two years. Lives were lost, businesses destroyed, and caused billions of dollars in damage to infrastructure across the State.

Senator Davey said families were devastated with many traumatised; with over 14,000 homes damaged and over 5,000 rendered uninhabitable.

“Nearly 8,000 people were forced into emergency accommodation and many are still there,” Senator Davey said.

“I know from the time I have spent in flood effected communities, people are still suffering and the mental strain of the threat of another flood is very real.

“With reports indicating a lingering La Niña weather pattern over spring and summer, there is no time to waste,” Senator Davey said.

The report acknowledges that risk-based approaches to floodplain planning have been worked on for over 70 years but also recognises we have yet to get it right.

As the Report shows, recovery and building resilience will be a long term, costly endeavour. It will take an extraordinary amount of funding and we know that the NSW Government has asked help from the Commonwealth. Any request for that support must be seriously considered.

Senator Davey said we also have to balance the need to address the housing crisis impacting many of our communities with the temptation to keep building much needed homes on land that has an unacceptable flood risk profile – the rinse and repeat profile referred to by the report.

“A key challenge to both building communities back after disasters and ensuring we have mitigation infrastructure and policies in place is ensuring we have a planning system which can provide timely approvals,” Senator Davey said.

“It is imperative that the Federal Government’s reform of the Environmental Planning and Biodiversity Conservation Act takes into account the need for new flood mitigation measures such as dams and levy banks, and fire mitigation such as fire breaks and emergency works.

“As we rebuild cities communities across the country impacted by natural disasters, planners at all levels of Government must avoid lengthy delays caused by environmental approval processes being mired in lawfare.

“The Federal Coalition has made it clear we will continue to work with both the NSW and Commonwealth Government in a bipartisan way to deliver for our devastated communities to rebuild and mitigate the risks associated with future disasters,” Senator Davey said.