Thursday, April 25, 2024

$19m lifeline buoys flood-damaged SA councils

Three councils on South Australia’s Eyre Peninsula most affected by damaging floods have welcomed an announcement the State Government will provide much-needed financial assistance, with an estimated $19 million in disaster recovery costs needed to fast-track infrastructure repairs and recovery.

The District Council of Kimba, District Council of Franklin Harbour and District Council of Cleve last week reached an agreement for the reimbursement of expenses associated with ex-tropical cyclone Tiffany through the extraordinary assistance clause in the Local Government Disaster Recovery Assistance Arrangements.

Local Government Association President, Mayor Angela Evans said the LGA had been working closely with the three councils, and continues to work with others, to facilitate a positive outcome and gather as much evidence of the damage and consequences for local communities.

“This decision means the State Government has recognised this extreme weather event qualifies for extraordinary assistance under the guidelines and allows these affected councils to claim a higher percentage of their reconstruction costs – with as much as 90 per cent of expenditure now able to be reimbursed,” Mayor Evans said.

“While this has been a difficult process, it has also been heartening to see the community pull together to get this done.

“We have seen council staff and volunteers working around the clock to support each other, and make sure towns and transport routes are safe for residents and workers.

“Communities are now moving from response to recovery and want to get longer-term reconstruction projects underway. 

“Flooding at this level causes extensive damage to roads and other infrastructure, which is not only very costly to repair but creates serious safety risks.  

“It is critical that when these disaster events occur, clean-up and recovery processes start immediately so that disruption is limited, supply chains can be restored, and the community can access essentials like food and medical equipment.” 

Kimba Mayor, Dean Johnson said the council was grateful to see the recovery funding.

“This is the largest natural disaster in Kimba’s history and this funding will ensure our Council and community can move forward with speed and certainty,” Mayor Johnson said.

“This has been a huge, coordinated effort that has seen this funding stream approved in timeframes never seen before.”

Cleve Mayor, Phil Cameron said communities were now moving from response to recovery.

“Flooding at this level causes extensive damage to roads and other infrastructure, which is not only very costly to repair but also creates risks for the community,” Mayor Cameron said. 

“It is critical when these disaster events occur, clean-up and recovery processes start immediately so that disruption is limited, supply chains can be restored, and the community can access essentials like food and medical equipment.” 

Franklin Harbour Mayor, Robert Walsh said the news meant the council could get on with the job of rebuilding essential infrastructure. 

“All roads lead to T-Ports at Lucky Bay for grain delivers and a lot of farmers need the roads urgently repaired to get this grain as quickly as possible to port and meet contracts. This includes all of Kimba farmers and well as Cleve and Cowell farmers,” Mayor Walsh said. 

Mayor Evans also said there was room for improvement in the Local Government Disaster Recovery Assistance Arrangements and these potential reforms were on the agenda for LGA Ordinary General Meeting in April. 

“Our members believe the current damage thresholds are too high and that the arrangements are generally not supportive enough, particularly for smaller councils.”

“Currently South Australian councils are the least financially supported councils in Australia when it comes to recovering costs related to a natural disaster, and we would like to see more certainty and accessibility for our communities,” the Mayor said.

Latest Articles