Hope for flood victims? NSW Government announces the Northern Rivers Reconstruction Corporation
The NSW Government has announced that on 1 July 2022, a dedicated flood reconstruction body will be established. The Northern Rivers Reconstruction Corporation (NRRC) will fast-track the reconstruction of communities which have been devastated by the recent floods. The powers of the NRRC open up doors for quick development of homes and infrastructure in the Northern Rivers.
Why will the NRRC be created?
Northern Rivers communities impacted by floods need quick solutions to rebuild their homes, infrastructure and essential services. The NRRC will be created to help streamline this rebuilding, by coordinating planning approvals, rebuilding and construction.
Deputy Premier Paul Toole said that the NRRC will also focus on future-proofing regional towns from the effects of floods. Consultation with local communities is key to understanding how to make regional NSW more resilient against natural disasters in the future.
When will the NRRC get involved?
Crisis response stage: Reliance NSW is providing relief to local communities in the form of temporary accommodation, clean up services and resupplying essential items. The first temporary ‘housing pod’ site was set up at Wollongbar, west of Ballina, on 28 April 2022.
Long-term response: The NRRC will work on a longer term basis, estimated between three to five years.
How will the NRRC be established?
The Deputy Premier will oversee the NRRC, which will be within the Department of Regional NSW. David Witherdin will head up the corporation, and is the current leader of Public Works Advisory and Soil Conservation Service. Community involvement in the NRRC will come from an advisory board where local MP’s, mayors and leaders in the community can voice their opinion to help ensure that the NRRC focus is on helping communities where they need it most.
What can the NRRC do?
The NRRC will have powers to:
- compulsorily acquire land
- subdivide land
- speed up construction
- speed up planning proposals in the Department of Planning and Environment
- consult with communities to future-proof towns from floods
- distribute packages, including the Primary Industry Support Package, Regional Roads and Transport Recovery Package and Community Infrastructure Recovery Package
An Independent Flood Inquiry will be commissioned to investigate how the Northern Rivers has been impacted and how best to work towards permanent recovery. The NRRC will be able to use the findings of the inquiry to create an action plan for rebuilding northern NSW.
Will you be impacted?
The NRRC will focus on rebuilding Ballina, Byron, Clarence Valley, Lismore, Richmond Valley, Tweed and Kyogle. Therefore, you may be impacted if you are involved in these areas:
- small and large businesses
- local residents
- local governments
- local industries
- insurance sector
- construction sector
- residential development (especially temporary accommodation)
- commercial development
- social Infrastructure development
- water and sewage infrastructure
- state forest recovery
- surrounding local government areas (LGAs) if they have been affected by flood damage.
Next steps for the NRRC
- The NRRC will be established on 1 July 2022.
- The NRRC has powers to compulsorily acquire land, sub divide and accelerate building approval and construction.
- Residents, communities and corporations in the affected LGA’s will be targets for the NRRC’s powers.
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