Community Leaders Forum Update - 24 August 2023
The NRRC holds a regular Community Leaders Forum with local MPs and Mayors to ensure future decisions about recovery and reconstruction are informed by community needs and led by local community leaders. This summary reflects the views of those community leaders and is not to be considered as Government policy unless otherwise stated.
At its meeting held on Thursday 24 August, forum members discussed news that NSW MP for Lismore, Janelle Saffin, was named as the Parliamentary Secretary for Disaster Recovery and that CEO of the Reconstruction Authority, Simon Draper, will take on a new role as Secretary of the Premier’s Department from 1 September 2023.
While her new role covers the whole state, Janelle shared that she will still retain a strong focus in the Northern Rivers. Simon too will remain as CEO of the Authority as it reaches its potential. He shared that senior executive arrangements will be put in place to support him and the wider team in managing the work of the Authority which will continue reporting to the Minister for Planning and the Minister for Emergency Services.
Leaders asked for a community outreach program to start in Lismore, Coraki, Woodburn, Broadwater, Rileys Hill and Dungarubba to offer support to residents. The Reconstruction Authority confirmed that could be arranged and work will start immediately to put a program in place.
Leaders also discussed the NRRC review and appeals policy and asked that information about the policy be shared widely with the community.
The policy allows homeowners 90 days to seek an internal review or appeal certain decisions made about the Resilient Homes Program (RHP).
People can ask for an internal review or appeal if they have been told they do not qualify for assistance under the RHP, if they disagree with how they’ve been allocated to a particular RHP stream (i.e raising or retrofit); or if they disagree with the amount offered or the scope of works proposed.
An internal review will mean that the NRRC will review the decision based on comments and relevant additional information from the homeowner.
The appeal process will see an independent Appeals Panel review the decision if they are provided with relevant additional information, corrected information, or a homeowner’s individual and exceptional circumstances.
More information can be found on the Resilient Homes Program page.
Another topic of discussion was about rural properties above 2 hectares. NRRC staff confirmed that buybacks are one of the options available for homes that are on land zoned for rural purposes. These properties will be assessed on an individual basis to see what support can be provided to them.
Staff are currently working with rural property owners to find out more information about their property to help identify what the best course of action is for each of them.
Local Councils are working with the NRRC to determine the best way for them to be key decision makers in the recovery.
There were many more issues discussed including the peer review of the current flood risk analysis and mapping.
MPs and Mayors remain committed to advocating for tranche two funding and to also ensure that any future funding for resilient homes funding is better targeted and well designed.