Sunday, February 25, 2024

Councils to roll out $5m NSW drainage ‘reset’ program

Damaged NSW Northern Rivers drainage systems will be cleaned out, repaired and fitted with mechanisms that will reduce the impacts of future flooding as part of a $5 million drainage “reset” investment announced today.

The Northern Rivers Drainage Reset Program is part of the $150 million Primary Industry Support Package, co-funded under the Commonwealth-State Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements.

The program is being administered by the Department of Regional NSW in partnership with the Northern Rivers Reconstruction Corporation, and will be rolled out by local councils.

Federal Minister for Emergency Management, Murray Watt, said the program will support the recovery of Northern Rivers primary producers in the sugarcane, horticulture, rice, soybeans, beef and dairy industries who continue to be impacted by flood-damaged drainage systems.

“This program will provide an injection of funds to improve priority drainage channels, reducing the immediate risks to agricultural assets and surrounding communities in future flood events,” Minister Watt said.

“The funding will focus on the cleaning and treatment of sediment in drains to assist in the movement of water through these river systems.

“This represents the practical and tangible ways we’re improving the longer-term flood resilience of this region.”

Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional NSW, Paul Toole said the Northern Rivers Drainage Reset Program was a direct response to findings and recommendations from the Government’s Independent Flood Inquiry.

“We want to continue to support our communities on the North Coast and Northern Rivers, as they recover from the floods last year,” Mr Toole said.

“Addressing directly the drainage recommendation from the inquiry will allow our communities to support their primary producers and the wider region during future flooding events.”

NSW Minister for Agriculture, Dugald Saunders said an immediate solution was required to address this longstanding issue. 

“Having a clean and healthy drainage system in our Northern Rivers is critical to running productive farms and mitigating future flooding events,” Mr Saunders said.

“The Northern Rivers community can take another big step forward in the rebuilding and recovery process and our farmers can get back to growing productive and profitable crops.

“I want to thank everyone involved in this journey so far, including farmers, the Drainage Union, local and NSW Government agencies and the Northern Rivers Drainage Coordinator for getting these vital drainage channels back on track.” 

The $5 million Northern Rivers Drainage Reset Program is being administered by the Department of Regional NSW in partnership with the Northern Rivers Reconstruction Corporation, and will be rolled-out by local councils.

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