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MP Templeman calls on all levels of government to help Hawkesbury build back better, more resilient

Mar 21, 2022

Shadow Minister for Local Government, Labor’s Jason Clare, visited the Hawkesbury this last week where he met with Macquarie MP Susan Templeman and Hawkesbury Council’s Deputy Mayor, Barry Calvert, to see first-hand the massive additional damage carved out of the landscape at Cornwallis by floodwater during the March floods.


Macquarie MP Susan Templeman, Shadow Minister for Local Government, Jason Clare, and Deputy Mayor Barry Calvert, visit flood ravaged Cornwallis


Ms Templeman called for timely contributions from all levels of government to help rebuild flood and storm-damaged Hawkesbury infrastructure, to ensure the region is built back better and more resilient.


“Last year’s flood caused serious damage to Cornwallis Road, cutting it in two and eating away at land on either side,” Ms Templeman said.


“Hawkesbury City Council wasn’t able to complete the repairs to the drain caused by that flood, and now it’s an even bigger job due to the damage from this year’s flood.


“What used to be rolling paddocks all the way to the river is now a crater, and the road simply doesn’t exist.”


“It’s a huge loss for the landowner and has also profoundly affected local turf growers who are concerned about the ongoing impact on their turf. They have now suffered millions in damages in two years, and until there is a solution found for the area, will remain very vulnerable.


“It’s just one example, alongside others like Greens Road at Lower Portland and Upper Colo Bridge from the 2021 damage, or the newly flood damaged areas like Upper Colo Road or Settlers Road, of a bill that is going to run into the tens of millions of dollars and require additional expertise to be completed – and we need other levels of government to collaborate so that remediation can be done in a timely way,” said the MP.


“We also need governments to be willing to fund repairs that make the infrastructure more resilient, not just to the same standard.


“I think there’s agreement broadly about this at a local level, and I hope the financial costs of that will be available to the region as the actual price of replacing the destroyed infrastructure is known.”


Cllr Calvert, the current President of the Western Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils (WSROC), said he was, “keen to ensure that councils in Western Sydney received adequate funding to recover from the series of floods that have hit the region.


“In particular, I raised with Jason that current grants only allow councils to replace infrastructure back to its original standard,” Cllr Calvert said.


“The problem with that approach is if the floods destroyed that infrastructure this time, then they will likely destroy them again next time.


“The obvious approach should be to improve the infrastructure so that it is more likely to survive the next flood event.”


“This would be money well spent and would contribute to the area becoming more resilient.


“I am also suggesting that State and Federal government consider allocating recovery funding on a regional rather than a Local Government Area level.


“Certainly, councils would still be the main operatives in reconstruction, but the funding could be shared across a greater region so that councils could share resources and planning to make sure that reconstruction does not start and finish at an LGA boundary.


“WSROC would be very happy to play a role in providing a more regional approach,” said Cllr Calvert.


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