LISMORE MP Janelle Saffin has welcomed an $800-million Resilient Homes Fund for the Northern Rivers as a down payment on 'building back better' from this year's floods -- a mammoth job which will cost more in future budgets.
Ms Saffin thanked Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet for coming to Lismore today to jointly announce the Fund, that includes voluntary house purchase (including relocatables), voluntary house raising, and retrofitting to make homes flood resistant, to make residents safe and secure.
She organised for Mr Albanese and Mr Perrottet to visit the home of North Lismore resident Brian Burgin, who told his personal story of surviving the record flood.
"This really is a landmark day in the history of the Northern Rivers region. It is the start of giving local people clarity about their choices in the future, and speaks to the transformational adaptation to natural disasters. The next phase needs to strengthen our economic and environmental recovery," Ms Saffin said.
"I have pushed for this Fund from immediately after the February 28 flood because what we lived through was akin to inland tsunami which created a humanitarian crisis on a scale not seen since Darwin's Cyclone Tracy.
Ms Saffin is thankful for the range of flood recovery grants on offer, some of them new ones which she had strongly advocated for, but a Resilient Homes Fund for our region -- similar to that offered to Queensland homeowners - in April -- was critical.
"In addition to my very early calls for this, I formally wrote to the Premier urging the NSW Government to reach out to the Commonwealth to secure such a Resilient Homes Fund, as the process dictates," Ms Saffin revealed.
"I said the guidelines for and options offered needed to be flexible; the funding significant; and local communities genuinely included in decisions impacting their futures." "The Northern Rivers Reconstruction Corporation (NRRC) led by Chief Executive David Witherdin, will roll the programme out with this approach including $100 million all up for flood free local land acquisition."
"I'm pleased that the Albanese Labor Government has come through for our region, only taking four weeks to respond to the NSW Government's formal request made at the end of September. This cooperation stands in stark contrast to that of the former Federal government."
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