A new Back to Home Grant has been welcomed in the effort to get people back in their homes as soon as possible, but it has sparked the question, where is the Federal Government's commitment to match the funding?
The new $12 million scheme was announced in Lismore by Premier Dominic Perrottet on Monday, delivering up to $20,000 to help people get back in their flood impacted homes.
Deputy Premier Paul Toole said the housing grant had been on the table for some weeks, but could not wait any longer to see if the Prime Minister would match the funding.
On March 10, Mr Perrottet announced a $551 million housing package, funded by the State and Federal governments.
"We've had a pretty good relationship with the Federal Government in agreeance that we'll go 50/50 during this period of time. But ultimately, we're the State, we are on the ground, where we see a need, we are going to deliver," Mr Perrottet said.
"We will always ask for as much support from the Federal Government as we can get. But we're not going to wait for that to happen.
"I think we can do better getting money out the door. It's not good enough," the Premier said.
"I'm putting more teams into Services NSW to get those funds out the door as quickly as possible.
"I think the Federal Government needs to be a bit more accepting when it comes to the guidelines that are in place. We cant let perfection be the enemy here of the good here. That's come through loud and clear."
The Premier reaffirmed his government's commitment to help flood affected residents on the Northern Rivers.
"There is no bigger challenge facing the people of NSW than getting the people of the Northern Rivers back on their feet," Mr Perrottet said.
Part of getting them back on their feet are the new grants available to people whose homes have been declared by the SES as damaged, destroyed or uninhabitable, who do not have insurance, or are unable to claim insurance or natural disaster relief.
Under the scheme, owner occupiers can apply for $20,000 to go towards home and contents repairs and replacement, landlords can apply for $15,000 for building repairs, and renters can apply for $5000 to cover the cost of contents lost in the flood.
There is a maximum of $20,000 per property.
The Premier said the $112 million scheme will help make their homes safe and habitable again by contributing towards the cost of replacing appliances, reconnecting utilities and making necessary repairs.
"We don't want people to return to a house, we want them to return to a home, and all those things that make a home," Mr Perrottet said.
Mr Toole said it was also important isolated communities know they have not been forgotten, and will work with them to to provide what they need.
He said they had been talking to people on the ground about what was working, and what wasn't, how things could be changed, and what can be done better.
Lismore MP Janelle Saffin said the region was "broken, but not beaten" and any funding would help.
"I welcome this funding, I'm always asking for more, that's my job and I wouldn't be doing it if I didn't do that," Ms Saffin said.
She said the Federal Government needed to be involved in the recovery and renewed calls for a reconstruction commission or authority to help rebuild Lismore and surrounding communities.
"I do want the Federal government to step up more, it's a bit too slow," Ms Saffin said.
Those who received the means tested Disaster Relief Grant are not eligible for this package, but the Premier said it will help more people.
The program is available across Lismore, Ballina, Byron, Richmond Valley, Tweed, Kyogle, Clarence Valley Hawkesbury council areas.
The funds can go towards any clean-up costs to restore housing to a habitable condition, such as:
Grants will go live in the coming weeks, and you can register to be notified at www.nsw.gov.au/floods.
Mr Perrottet also announced the start of an inquiry into the State's flood crisis, to be led by Professor Mary O'Kane and ex- Police Commissioner Mick Fuller.
Submissions connected to the response, recovery, and rebuild after the floods to the inquiry have now opened.
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