Concerns for levee walls until flood funding arrives

IF THERE was a flood tomorrow vulnerable levee walls could spell disaster for the Valley.

And Clarence Valley Council can't repair the walls until the State Government coughs up the flood recovery cash.

At a council committee meeting on Tuesday night, Mayor Richie Williamson said the media had often asked him to estimate the cost to the council of the latest floods.

"And now we know that cost, it was close to $24million," he said.

The council lodged a claim for $24 million worth of flood relief funding in June. To place the figure in context, the council raises about $26 million a year in rates from the community. And without State Government funding there is no way levee walls and roads which have been severely damaged can be repaired, the council's director of works Troy Anderson explained.

"Council can't afford to bankroll these works, we don't have sufficient funding to undertake them without funding from the Natural Disaster Relief Assistance Program," Mr Anderson said. "We've definitely got vulnerable areas.

"And there's no guarantee at this stage of what funding we're going to get and if we're going to get the figure we've claimed."

Cr Williamson said he did not want to be alarmist and a flood during winter was "extremely unlikely".

But he said the funds were needed straight away, to provide the council with time necessary to complete the works.

The money was to be administered by Minister for Finance Greg Pearce but he was sacked recently over a conflict of interest issue.

The new Minister for Finance, Andrew Constance said the application for funding was "currently being assessed against the NDRA program's eligibility criteria."



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