Yass Valley flooding declared a natural disaster
Yass Valley Council, along with twenty other regional Council areas of NSW, has been declared a natural disaster after recent inland storms and flooding. This official declaration allows Yass Valley Council, rate payers, small businesses and primary producers to access much needed disaster relief funding, with Council’s repair costs alone running into the hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Extensive damage has occurred across Yass Valley’s road network and with rain continuing to fall Council staff have been conducting emergency works to ensure roads are passable in the short term, before extensive repairs can be carried out now that emergency funding has become available. Roads are not the only infrastructure affected, with damage to sewerage, water supply equipment, buildings and parks adding to the long list.
Yass Valley Council’s newly appointed Director Engineering, Robert Fish said, “As well as assessing roads for safety and accessibility staff have been exceptionally busy documenting damage across the local government area in preparation for yesterday’s emergency declaration.
“The time frame on when permanent repair works can commence is still unclear and we will be working closely with the Regional Recovery Coordinator, appointed by the NSW Office of Emergency Management.
“Our unsealed road network has suffered extensive damage due to the extended and consistent wet weather experienced over the last couple of months. Unfortunately there will be a backlog in maintenance grading and we ask for residents to be patient as we prioritise roads in urgent need of repair.
“I would like to emphasise that further rain is predicted this week and next and with the ground already saturated it won’t take much rain fall to cause flooding across Yass Valley,” continued Mr Fish.
Making the announcement from the flood effected town of Forbes on Tuesday, Minister for Justice, Michael Keenan said, “Natural disasters are a fact of life in Australia, but the recovery process for these communities is a long one.”
NSW Deputy Premier and Minister for Justice and Police, Troy Grant said, “A range of disaster relief assistance was now available to help communities across 21 local government areas.”
Assistance is being provided through the jointly-funded Commonwealth-State Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements (NDRRA).