Lismore City News
Saturday, 2 December 2023

A Lismore flood victim says actions not words would speak louder six months on from the disaster

David Kirkpatrick
Updated September 6 2022 - 12:20pm, first published September 2 2022 - 8:37am

Nikki McGuire has basically been squatting in her home since the inland tsunami swept through Lismore six months ago.

The Dawson Street resident was rescued by a neighbour in a kayak after clinging to the gutters of her home for hours in freezing, fast flowing floodwaters.

Fast forward six months and she still cooks on a camp stove, she's happy to have the power back on, and especially proud of a set of fairy lights at the front of her home.


They lend a festive air to a lovely home that's otherwise been severely damaged by floodwaters.

She used to clean up wearing a tutu and a set of gumboots in the weeks and months after the floods,

But she says now she couldn't wear the tutu because she's at the bottom of the "rollercoaster ride".

Her patience is starting to wear thin, as she awaits details of flood buy backs, land swaps, relocations and house raising.

Asked what she would tell the Prime Minister or Premier if she could speak to them directly, Ms McGuire said she'd invite them to spend a night at her home.

"It seems like lots of promises from the premier and he says things with a smile and good faith, but nothing happens," Ms McGuire said

"I'd like to see them come and sleep in some of these places.

"The make safe team came around and pulled out all the walls, pulled out everything, and people are living inside their frames, in tents, with no power.

"I'd like to see how long they would actually last without saying 'this is not good enough'."

A flood version of sleepout for the homeless doesn't sound like a bad idea.

It might help prick some consciences as memories and momentum are fading among the powerbrokers in Sydney and Canberra.

"When you read what's happening, why has it taken them six months to even start thinking about these things?" Ms McGuire said.

"Look at Queensland, it can be done. It feels like it has taken too long.

"When the premier came to release the flood report, I can't remember the fellow's name, but he said by Christmas time we will know more.

"We are all hanging on by a thread. By Christmas time? What has been going on for all this time?"

When it comes to buy backs, land swaps, relocations and house raising, Ms McGuire said she was interested in "all of the above".

"We need to know what that looks like, what that means for us cost wise, how we would be supported around that," she said

"Until we know the final details, we can't make a decision.

"We are all very close as a community. If we could just pick this all up together and put in somewhere it would be great."

She says the people of Lismore are tough, and they are used to floods, but six months on, actions would speak louder than words.

"We don't want to leave or communities," she said.

"I always say my hood is better than yours. We love our community and where we live.

"That would be a heartbreaking thing to be separated

"For the mental health of our community, we need some answers."

Dawson Street resident Nikki McGuire said for the mental health of flood victims they needed answers on land swaps, buy backs and relocations. Picture by: Cathy Adams
Dawson Street resident Nikki McGuire said for the mental health of flood victims they needed answers on land swaps, buy backs and relocations. Picture by: Cathy Adams
David Kirkpatrick

I'm a media professional with over 34 years of experience in public relations and journalism, including a decade setting Lismore's news agenda as the editor of The Northern Star. I have proven track record in growing audiences and improving engagement by delivering quality local stories for and about the Lismore community.