Key bridges and roads projects are expected to become available from 2023 onward in northern NSW to make transport infrastructure more resilient to natural disasters.
Structures are expected to be raised in flood-prone local government areas (LGAs) in 26 affected LGAs under the state and federal governments’ Natural Disaster Funding Arrangements. There is $312.5 million all up to spend on transport infrastructure.
Councils in the LGAs can apply to not only restore infrastructure to pre-flood condition as was the funding criteria in the past, but to improve it for protection against future natural disaster events.
In March this year, people and animals were trapped on a flooded bridge at Woodburn, south of Ballina (pictured), for several hours when they were rescued as the level of the Richmond River continued to rise.
The Federal Minister for Emergency Management, Murray Watt said the damage to infrastructure was an ongoing issue.
“We’ve seen infrastructure like roads and bridges damaged time and again, with no opportunity for them to be repaired or rebuilt to a standard that would help them withstand and bounce back from a future natural disaster,” he explained. “By rebuilding to a better standard, we can protect communities during disasters while also lessening the long-term damage to regions.”
State Minister for Regional Transport and Roads, Sam Farraway, echoed this saying it is the first time funding of this nature has been provided for infrastructure.
“Ultimately, it reduces the risk of economic impact and lowers repair costs for asset owners during clean-up following a natural disaster,” he said.
Local councils have until 1 December 2022 to submit key projects.