We need to talk about development on flood plains: Stone

A national conversation is needed about “where and how people build homes” after extreme events like the Queensland and NSW floods, Shane L Stone says.

The National Recovery and Resilience Agency (NRRA) Coordinator-General told a Sydney newspaper last week that residents whose homes had been inundated must “face realities”.

“The taxpayer and the ratepayer cannot continue to pick up the bill for these huge, catastrophic-damage events.”

“You’ve got people who want to live among the gum trees – what do you think is going to happen?”

“Their house falls in the river, and they say it’s the government’s fault.”

Mr Stone said councils had to end their “poor planning decisions”. He acknowledged these were “fighting words” but said it was “the hard part of the solution”.

His comments came as Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) President Linda Scott called for more disaster mitigation and climate change funding.

“We appreciate the support that has quickly been provided by states and the Commonwealth to households and communities impacted by these devastating floods in Queensland and NSW,” she said in a media release.

“However, we need greater investment in disaster mitigation and climate change adaption to reduce the severity and impact of future natural disasters.”

“The current legislation allows for $200 million per year to be spent from the Federal Government’s $4.8 billion Emergency Management Fund.”

“However, since 2019 the Government has only committed $150 million in total from this fund.”

“This month’s Federal Budget is an opportunity for the Commonwealth to provide additional assistance that will help protect our communities from increasing disaster events.”

In related news, Lismore City Council Mayor Steve Kreig has said any reconstruction of the city would be worthless without minimising the impact of future floods.

He told a newspaper that the council had unreleased plans to raise an existing levee on the Wilsons River and build another on the opposite bank.

“If we don’t do it, we die as a city. Simple as that,” Cr Krieg said.