Lismore Bishop Greg Homeming speaks out after Northern Rivers flood disaster

Mitchell Craig
June 8 2022 - 10:00am

LISMORE Bishop Greg Homeming wants all cards on the table as the church plans to contribute to the City rebuild.

FUTURE PLANNING: The Most Reverend Gregory Homeming knows it will be a long road ahead as the community continues to rebuild from the recent floods.
FUTURE PLANNING: The Most Reverend Gregory Homeming knows it will be a long road ahead as the community continues to rebuild from the recent floods.

The bishop hopes the government support becomes more clear as the ongoing flood crisis grips the region.

"This disaster is bigger than any church can deal with and we're waiting for the government because they're the only ones with the money needed, which will run into the hundreds of millions of dollars to even begin to do anything," Bishop Homeming said.

"Once they put their cards on the table the small players like the churches can start filling in the gaps.

"Emotionally it's been far more taxing than the 2017 flood"

"There has been an air of hopelessness around town, but the people here are very strong, there is no question about that.

"I'm not sure where everyone stands at the moment, there is certainly a great deal of despair around the place.

"After 2017 flood, people were moving back in to their places after 10 days, now we're three months past the event and places are still empty.

Damage from the flood looks set to keep the Lismore Cathedral out of action until August.

They had hoped it would be running by Easter, but like most places, there has been delays

"This was the first time that water has gone into the cathedral and it took some time to subside," Bishop Homeming said.

"By the time it's ready to open it will be over five months from the first flood since it was inundated.

"There are two parish's in Lismore who can't use their church; one is the cathedral, they're having their masses and services up at the Carmelite Monastery at Goonellabah.

"The other one is South Lismore and they're using the chapel in one of their funeral places.

"The only City church that wasn't knocked out was the Anglican church because they're up a bit higher."


The Diocese of Lismore launched its 2022 Flood Appeal just days after the first flood.

Bishop Homeming said he learnt valuable lessons after the 2017 flood when he was new to the region.

"It's tracking along well and I'm starting to think about what I want to do with it," he said.

"It's going to cost me more than what I raised but I need to find a way to provide for Lismore into the future.

"In 2017 I spent about half a million dollars buying mattresses for everyone and not it's quite clear to me that's what I shouldn't do because if there is another flood they all get thrown out again.

"I'm taking advice and consulting different people on what to provide for Lismore so that it can have have an enduring benefit and be a bit more permanent for the city.

"I've got my faith so I can continue to walk, I just hope the people Lismore and Woodburn and all these other places will have the strength to keep going.

"If they have faith that will help them but if they haven't got faith I just hope and pray that they won't lose hope.

"I suppose it is the role of the churches to be there saying the right things to encourage people so they don't lose heart because if we lose that than that's it we're done.

"I'm amazed with the spirit of the local people; that goodness and hope will be enough to bring everyone through I believe."

Mitchell Craig

Mitchell Craig

Senior journalist

Australian Community Media journalist with over 10 years' experience in providing quality news and sport stories.