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MP joins chorus of voices calling for the NSW government to act on floods

Aug 7, 2022

Macquarie MP Susan Templeman, has issued an urgent plea to the NSW government to do “everything possible” to mitigate the risk of flood, including allowing WaterNSW to use Warragamba Dam as a water mitigation dam.

 

Warragamba Dam contributes to water flows down the Hawkesbury River…

 

Warragamba – the flows from which add to the impact the Hawkesbury suffers in a flood event – has been spilling for weeks and has sat at 100% full for several weeks.

 

It is currently a water storage dam to serve Sydney, with no plan to let water out before a flood event.

In an impassioned speech to Parliament on Thursday, Ms Templeman said that anxiety in the community was very high following this year’s repeated flood events, and with more rain forecast by the Bureau of Meteorology.

 

She called on the Liberal-led State government to take urgent action on lowering water in the dam.

“Of course, it isn’t a given that a flood will occur. What should be happening, though, is that there should be action being taken by the NSW government,” Ms Templeman told Parliament.

“They should be doing everything possible to mitigate the risk of flood—everything that they can, right now—and that includes drawing down the Warragamba Dam, reducing the level, which has stayed close to a hundred per cent for weeks, if not months.

“People are understandably asking the question: ‘Why won’t the NSW Government just act?’ It’s hard to fathom the deaf ear that these calls are falling on.

“Again, I plead with the NSW Premier – ‘Please listen to my community’.”

Ms Templeman said flood-affected Hawkesbury residents were feeling overwhelmed and in limbo, facing a massive task to repair, clean-up and rebuild after the July floods.

“We know you can’t stop floods, but we also know that the conditions right now are unlike anything in memory—the soggy soils with very little ability to absorb local falls and the heavy rain forecast to fall somewhere in the coming months,” Ms Templeman said.

MP Susan Templeman at a flooded Windsor Bridge back in March…

 

“I congratulate the NSW Opposition leader, Chris Minns, and his shadow ministers Rose Jackson and Jihad Dib, who came and met with Pitt Town residents, because they are willing to act. Unfortunately, we can’t wait for a NSW Labor government for this to happen.”

 

Mr Minns has promised Hawkesbury residents in some of the worst flood-affected areas a range of actions including funding for building flood levees, promises welcomed by the Pitt Town Progress Association who nevertheless noted it was a promise at this stage not a guarantee because Labor does not hold power in the NSW Parliament.

 

The Liberal-led Coalition has been in power in NSW since 2011, with the next State elections due in March 2023.

 

“We really need the current NSW government to act,” said Ms Templeman.

 

“Lowering the level of the water in the existing dam, using the resources that we have right now, would allow for a buffer, and it must be something that the NSW Government tries.

“If it doesn’t, should we see more heavy rains, I fear the NSW government will find the anger in the community towards them will be almost uncontrollable.”

Ms Templeman also pointed out three new grants have been made available to flood-affected communities following collaboration between the Federal and NSW governments, including:

· a grant for renters of 16 weeks of support;

· a new grant for rural landholders of up to $25,000 for those who are not eligible for funding such as the primary producers’ grant or the small business grant.

· a homeowners’ grant of up to $20,000 for people who need to complete work to get back home.

“I know that there’s more to do, but these are fast actions to try and make the recovery from this disaster as quick and as painless as it can be. I’ll continue to advocate for those things,” Ms Templeman said.

For information about assistance, visit https://recovery.gov.au/NSWflood#/map and https://www.service.nsw.gov.au/floods/financial-assistance

 
 
 
 
 
 

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