Winter relief for flood-stricken northern NSW with government funding for roads, fares, services

The NSW government has allocated more than $100 million for road repairs, tariff relief and non-governmental services in the flood-ravaged Northern Rivers area.

More than three months after the catastrophic flood started, many are still homeless and areas still without power.

Deputy Prime Minister Paul Toole today announced $40 million in interest rate cuts for affected homes, businesses and farms in seven local government areas.

Eligible fare payers will still receive a fare notice but will be contacted by the NSW Government if it needs to be waived.

“Services NSW should have assessed your property as damaged and then you will not have to pay any fees for the next 12 months,” said Mr Toole.

The local government areas are Tweed, Ballina, Bryon, Kyogle, Richmond Valley, Lismore and Clarence Valley.

There is also $60 million to restore forest roads, and a $13 million pool for flood-affected non-governmental organizations to apply for.

Gypsy Hughes was one of several people rescued from “waist-deep” flooding in Woodburn and lives in a caravan with her children after their rent was deemed uninhabitable.

Despite her own hardships, she volunteers at the local community center, distributing goods and services, such as haircuts, to those still displaced by the floods.

“It makes me so happy to know that we are not forgotten and that we are getting extra help,” she said of the latest funding announcement.

“It’s going to mean a lot to the local people who are raising all the money.”

Woman with hair pulled back, wearing black t-shirt and orange hi-vis vest, sitting in a warehouse
Gypsy Hughes says the relief is welcome but is still concerned about the housing crisis.ABC North Coast: Hannah Ross

But Ms Hughes said there were many more problems to be solved, with housing being the biggest problem.

“There’s nothing available, absolutely nothing,” she said.

“Especially with animals, and that’s all my kids have left, so I don’t plan on getting rid of them.

Ms Hughes said the winter made it a particularly “disheartening” prospect.

“I’m a mother of children who sleep in a tent, and I don’t like thinking about the elderly having to go through the elements right now.”

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