New South Wales Premier Morris Iemma says the State Government is extending its natural disaster declaration to cover more flood-hit regions on the state’s north coast.
Mr Iemma is touring flood-affected areas including Woodburn and Coraki this morning and is due to meet with State Emergency Service flood co-ordinators in Lismore.
He says the State Government is extending its natural disaster declaration to the Lismore and Richmond Valley local government areas.
“I have personally seen the extent of the flooding and the large number of families who have been isolated and the Government had no hesitation in extending the natural disaster declaration,” he said in a press release.
“I’ve admired the spirit, cheerful attitude and selfless behaviour demonstrated by flood victims, volunteers and communities as they have pitched in to help each other.
“We want to ease their burden and the declaration of a natural disaster triggers a range of assistance for residents, business owners and councils whose properties are damaged in the flooding.”
Earlier Emergency Services Minister Nathan Rees declared the Tweed and Kyogle regions natural disaster areas.
Mr Iemma says the flood crisis on the state’s north coast might not be over yet.
He says early estimates put the damage bill at $22 million, but that figure is likely to rise.
“We’re not out of it, because of weather predictions for the remainder of this week and next week in south-east Queensland, and also in the region,” he said.
“I cannot underestimate the quick actions and the quick thinking of the emergency service workers that have prevented fatalities and even more serious injuries here.”
This morning around 165 people from an Aboriginal community on Cabbage Tree Island on the north coast were evacuated.
Staff from the Department of Community Services are doorknocking in flood-affected towns in northern New South Wales to inform residents about what assistance is available to them.
Hundreds of people have either been removed from their homes or left stranded in areas such as Kyogle, Coraki, Woodburn and parts of the Tweed Shire.
DOCS State Disaster Recovery Centre director Wendy Graham says help is at hand.
“DOCS does have a State Disaster Recovery 1800 number. That number is 1800 018 444 and that number provides assistance to people who need either immediate assistance in terms of food or clothing, but also assistance with contents and structural repairs,” she said