RICHMOND Valley Council has responded to the recent flooding crisis with a detailed report outlining the extent of the recovery challenge and its plans to rebuild its infrastructure, economy, and community.
The Richmond Valley Flood 2022 Response, which was handed to NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet on Tuesday, outlines the measures Council is taking in immediate response, and breaks down the estimated $150 million cost to repair critical infrastructure throughout the Richmond Valley, as well as the cost to local homes, businesses, the natural environment and the wellbeing of our communities.
It also looks to the future with plans to restart our regional economy and build back better so our community is more resilient to future natural disasters.
To help gain an understanding of the flood’s impacts on the local economy, Council engaged Sea & Star Advisory to undertake a preliminary economic impact statement and advise on measures to support economic recovery.
The study found the Richmond Valley’s economy could expect to experience significant loss of production over the next two years – estimated at $250 million. The biggest impacts are forecast to be in the manufacturing and agricultural sectors.
Council’s General Manager Vaughan Macdonald said the unprecedented flood levels of the past month had damaged homes, businesses, and public infrastructure across the Richmond Valley.
Mr Macdonald said there were also economic and social challenges in the area and called on authorities and the government to assist in the recovery.
“Rebuilding from this catastrophic event will require a supreme effort and support from all levels of government,” he said.
“Richmond Valley Council has played a strong role in the initial disaster response – working to restore essential services, re-open public roads and support our emergency services agencies.
“But we cannot do this alone. It will take enormous effort and support for those affected to rebuild their lives.”
The report details the response needed across infrastructure such as roads, waste, water and sewer and property damage.
It outlines Council’s strategy for economic and social recovery with plans for housing, business, industry, the environment and future-proofing our area from natural disasters.
Mr Macdonald said the report highlighted how Council needed strategic investment, open engagement and strong leadership from all levels of government to meet this overwhelming challenge.
“Richmond Valley Council and the wider community will be there every step of the way to support the individuals, families, businesses and farmers impacted by this disaster,” he said.
Mr Macdonald said the community acknowledged the tremendous support from emergency response agencies, NSW Police, the Australian Defence Force, Council staff and the many community volunteers who stepped up to help in one of the most challenging times for the Richmond Valley and Northern Rivers region.
“Seeing the SES, RFS, ADF, VRA, Fire and Rescue, police officers, paramedics and many volunteer agencies on the ground was a boost to the thousands of residents who faced the mammoth task of clearing out their damaged homes these past weeks,” he said.
“Their help clearing our streets, roads and farmlands of flood debris, as well as working in our evacuation centres, was an absolute blessing. Their air and water rescues life saving.
“We couldn’t be more grateful for their hard work and we thank them all for their service to our community.”