NSW, Federal government flood recovery funding stoush continues

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Rain has returned to the NSW coast with residents in several areas being warned to prepare for heavy falls and flash flooding, amid an ongoing stoush over flood recovery funding.

NSW has been hit by repeated flooding over the past few months, with the north and northwest of the state devastated by consecutive deluges since February.

While the recovery and clean-up efforts are ongoing, so is the rain.

Bureau of Meteorology meteorologist Sarah Scully said heavy rainfall was predicted on the central and south coasts of the state for the rest of the week.

“We’re forecasting six hourly rainfall totals between 60 and 100mm, with up to 140mm about coastal areas,” Ms Scully said on Wednesday.

Saturated catchments could respond quickly to any bursts of rain, raising fears of flash flooding and landslips, the BOM warned.

A severe weather warning extends from Gosford to south of Bega and inland to the central and southern tablelands.

The rain is predicted to increase on Thursday and continue through to the weekend.

Flood watches have been issued for central and southern coast rivers.

Minor to moderate flooding is expected for the Wollombi Brook, Lower Hunter, Nepean, Hawkesbury, Upper Coxs, Colo, Macdonald, Parramatta, Georges, Woronora, Shoalhaven, Clyde, Moruya, Deua, Macquarie, Queanbeyan and Molonglo rivers.

The threat of further flooding comes while northern NSW communities continue a clean-up, amid a stoush between the NSW and federal governments over funding for the recovery effort.

NSW announced new grants to assist with the rebuilding of flood-damaged, uninsured homes on Monday, with the government saying it was putting up the money because it was tired of waiting for federal input.

But Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Tuesday he had written to Premier Dominic Perrottet to stress his government was happy to split funding.

Mr Perrottet said while his government was willing to work with the Commonwealth, it would ultimately meet the needs of communities as they’re identified.

“If we can do more we will, we’ve requested further (federal) assistance … From my perspective, I want to make sure we give as much support as we can,” Mr Perrottet told ABC Radio National on Wednesday.

“The other issue we have, which is a bit frustrating, is there seem to be people who are disqualified (from receiving federal funding)… based on where they live. 

“To me, it doesn’t matter if you’ve lost your home in Lismore or Mullumbimby, you’re in the same situation.”

Mr Perrottet still hopes to get support from the federal government to expand the homes grants scheme.

He attributed discrepancies in funding delivery to a lack of understanding by the federal government.

“There’s probably some public servant in Canberra who thinks that if you are in a certain community that has been flooded, as they all did, that somehow you are at a bigger disadvantage than someone who has lost a home or business somewhere else,” he said.

He also wants to reduce bureaucracy in the administration of grants so that money can be distributed faster.

While an inquiry into the flooding disaster and response is due to report back to the NSW government by the end of September, a pre-emptive examination will take place during a parliamentary hearing on Wednesday.

Emergency Services and Resilience Minister Steph Cooke will face the hearing, along with Resilience NSW Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons and NSW Rural Fire Service Commissioner Rob Rogers.

AAP

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