Geoff Provest, Sam Farraway, Justine Elliot and Chris Cherry

Applications are now open for 26 northern New South Wales local government areas (LGAs) affected by floods to apply for a share of $312.5 million to make transport infrastructure more resilient, jointly funded by the Federal and New South Wales Governments.

Previously, under the Natural Disaster Funding Arrangements, councils have only been able to apply for funding to restore infrastructure back to its pre-natural disaster conditions, but in the wake of the devastating 2022 floods, the State and Federal Governments have recognised the need to invest in resilience and build back better beyond pre-flood condition.

The new program provides the opportunity for LGAs in flood-prone areas to submit key projects which they identify will provide significant connections for local communities in the event of extreme weather events in the future.

Tweed Shire Mayor, Chris Cherry, joined New South Wales Minister for Regional Transport and Roads, Sam Farraway, Federal Member for Richmond, Justine Elliot, and State Member for Tweed, Geoff Provest, at the announcement of the new arrangement in the Tweed.

Mr Farraway said the New South Wales Government had heard the call for a funding program where infrastructure wasn’t built back on a like-for-like basis but able to be built back stronger.

“It is the first time funding of this kind has been provided for infrastructure and it will minimise the impact of natural disasters and improve connections between communities,” Mr Farraway said.

“Ultimately, it reduces the risk of economic impact and lowers repair costs for asset owners during clean-up following a natural disaster.”

Federal Minister for Emergency Management, Murray Watt, encourages Councils to apply for the funding.

“We’ve seen infrastructure like roads and bridges damaged time and again, with no opportunity for them to be repaired or built to a standard that would help them withstand and bounce back from a future natural disaster.

“By rebuilding to a better standard we can protect communities during disasters, while also lessening the long-term damage to regions.”

New South Wales Deputy Premier, Paul Toole, said the new program would allow councils to upgrade and improve key routes that were impacted during the major floods of earlier this year or raise road and bridge levels so they perform better during flooding.

“This is a $312.5 million investment in stronger, more resilient roads and transport infrastructure to help keep communities safe during disaster – and allow them to bounce back faster.”

Federal Member for Richmond, Justine Elliot, said the funding is especially important for the region, especially following the devastation of the recent floods.

“Investing in better roads will minimise the frequency and duration of disruptions to the community. It will ensure more reliable journeys and provide locals, businesses and freight with access to the services they need.”

The program allows for councils to submit applications for key projects up until 1 December 2022.

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