On Wednesday 15 November, Mayor of Parkes Shire, Councillor Neil Westcott, and Deputy Mayor, Councillor Marg Applebee, welcomed a brief visit from Parliamentary Secretary for Disaster Recovery, Ms Janelle Saffin MP, and Mr Ken Harrison of the NSW Reconstruction Authority.
Ms Saffin, visited the region in representation of the Minister for Emergency Services, Jihad Dib, attended flood-impacted areas in Parkes Shire and surrounds on the 12-month anniversary of the catastrophic flood events of 2022.
The visit follows recent commitments from the Federal and NSW governments, totalling $100 million, for flood recovery and resilience in the Central West.
This funding package includes support for the repair and replacement of critical community assets, improving the resilience of public infrastructure, assistance with housing programs, and legal aid assistance.
This funding is a significant step forward and will help to boost the community-led recovery of the Central West.
These important projects will be overseen by a forum of community leaders and representatives from both Commonwealth and State Governments, to ensure all levels of Government are committed to the long-term recovery of the Central West.
Over the coming months, the NSW Reconstruction Authority will work closely with local community leaders to prioritise the additional funding and determine potential future funding which may be required.
Cr Westcott raised the importance of an equitable approach to those residents affected by floods who have not been able to access insurance.
“Some residents have borrowed significantly to undertake the repairs to their homes as they were not insured for the flood, being in an area considered flood-free.”
“Other residents are still unable to inhabit their homes due to delays in repair, and some residents are in limbo as the unknown threat of future floods complicates the decision to reinvest,” he said.
The 8kms of water main from Lake Endeavour scoured from the ground was also raised as an urgent project, as was placing particular attention on all areas across the Shire which are repeatedly damaged in flood events.
This funding package is a significant step forward, with Council eager to be involved in the discussion on the mechanisms to best invest the money.
Minister for Emergency Services Jihad Dib said “It’s critical that we continue to support communities who have borne the brunt of the 2022 floods.”
The NSW Reconstruction Authority is inviting community members to sign up to get the latest information on the recovery program. To be kept up to date, send your contact details – name, email address, phone number and/or postal address – to CentralWest.Recovery@reconstruction.nsw.gov.au.