The New South Wales Government has announced $145 million in funding for the repair and upgrade of critical water and sewerage infrastructure damaged by floods across the Northern Rivers.
Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional New South Wales, Paul Toole, said work will include permanent repairs to water and sewerage systems that were damaged in the floods, as well as upgrades that will help future-proof this critical infrastructure.
“We are working with the hardest-hit communities of Ballina, Byron, Lismore, Kyogle, Richmond Valley, Tweed Shire, and Clarence Valley, as well as Rous County Council, to repair this critical water infrastructure,” Mr Toole said.
“Heavy rain and flooding caused widespread damage to water and sewerage systems in these locations and now we are getting on with the job of bringing this essential infrastructure back to full capacity.”
New South Wales Minister for Lands and Water, Kevin Anderson, said that immediately after the flood waters affected communities, teams were assisting councils and water utility operators to provide safe and clean drinking water.
“Access to clean water is a basic human right. When the floods hit we stepped in to work with councils and water utilities to provide technical advice, deliver temporary repairs and other works to ensure water security for residents,” Mr Anderson said.
“With this funding we will now be able to rebuild and permanently repair this critical water infrastructure.
“Water supply and wastewater infrastructure services have been impacted by flooding, land slips, power failures and dirty contaminated water.
“This funding will get services back to full capacity because the health of the community is dependent on the safe and continuous operation of water and sewerage systems.
“It will also involve repairs to pump stations and electrical switchboards across several council areas in the Northern Rivers.”
New South Wales Minister for Emergency Services and Resilience and Minister for Flood Recovery, Steph Cooke, said the funding will ensure that water infrastructure across the Northern Rivers is built back to a more resilient standard to help withstand future natural disasters.
“To date the New South Wales and Federal governments have committed over $3 billion to the flood recovery effort to not just clean-up but also rebuild and reconstruct over the long term,” Ms Cooke said.
The eight councils to benefit include:
- Lismore City Council – new East Lismore wastewater treatment plant and new flood secure pump stations
- Richmond Valley Council – water and sewerage infrastructure repairs, incl. treatment works
- Ballina Shire Council – repairs to wastewater treatment plant and pump stations
- Tweed Shire Council – water and sewerage infrastructure repairs
- ROUS County Council – water infrastructure repairs
- Clarence Valley Council – water and sewerage infrastructure repairs
- Byron Shire Council – water and sewerage infrastructure repairs
- Kyogle Council – water and sewerage infrastructure repairs
The program will also work with Indigenous communities and Local Indigenous Land Councils to better understand the impact that the natural disaster has had on critical water and sewerage services for Indigenous communities, and identify and undertake urgent works.
The Northern Rivers Reconstruction Corporation has the power to work with councils to identify, prioritise and support projects that rejuvenate communities within the Northern Rivers area, with a particular emphasis on housing and supporting social infrastructure.