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The Northern Rivers Times News Edition 107
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The Northern Rivers Times Rural News Edition 107
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2022 Floods

2022 flood now third costliest natural disaster ever

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NSW Northern Rivers Breaking News

2022 flood now third costliest natural disaster ever

New data shows that the destructive flood that swept through South-East Queensland and Northern New
South Wales in late February and early March has caused $4.8 billion in insured damages and is now
the third costliest extreme weather event in Australia’s history.

Only Cyclone Tracy (1974) and the Sydney hailstorm (1999) caused more insured losses, and this year’s
East Coast Flood is the costliest flood in Australian history, the Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) said
today.

Close to 225,000 insurance claims relating to the event have been lodged across both states, an
increase of 3.6 per cent on last month’s count.

However, as claims assessments continue to be completed, insurance costs for the event have
increased 12 per cent on last month, driven in part by increasing materials and labour costs.
Almost 30 per cent of claims have been closed and $1.5 billion has already been paid to policyholders.
With almost 125,000 home claims stemming from the 2022 East Coast Floods, local councils need to be
preparing for an influx of development applications for the very large number of property rebuilds and
repairs required.

This week marked four months since the ICA declared the event an Insurance Catastrophe.

The event stretched over several days and many claims were not made until days, weeks or months
after the initial event, with locations like Lismore being hit for a second time at the end of March,
generating many new or additional claim lodgements.

The four-month mark is significant because under the General Insurance Code of Practice insurers are
required to make a decision on a claim four months after it is lodged.
However, the Code allows for changes to timeframes where they cannot be practically met, for example
due to the complexity of the claim or delays in expert reports, such as hydrology and engineer reports.

The ICA has been holding community forums in impacted towns and cities throughout June, which has
enabled insurance customers to meet directly with their insurer.
Quote attributable to Andrew Hall, CEO, Insurance Council of Australia:
The sheer scale of the extreme weather event that devastated Queensland and New South
Wales is something we have never seen before, and the cost continues to rise.

Money is flowing into these devasted communities with $1.5 billion already paid and this number
increasing every day.
Insurers are working hard to resolve claims as quickly as possible and have put on hundreds of
extra staff to support claims processing as delays not only impact the policyholder, in most cases
they also add costs to the insurer.

Media: 0432 121 116 comms@insurancecouncil.com.au insurancecouncil.com.au

Past experience has shown us that local councils need to be looking at what they can do to
process the higher than usual number of development applications we expect to see as a result
of this flood.
The time it takes for some property claims decisions to be made has been a consistent issue
raised at our policyholder forums in New South Wales and Queensland.
There are clear obligations and regulations on insurers around claims, but ultimately the type of
claim, the assessment required and the complexity of the repair or rebuild can impact that
process.

Timeframes stipulated in the Code:
• Insures are obligated provide an update at least every 20 business days after a claim has been
submitted.
• A routine enquiry must be responded to within 10 business days.
• Insurers are required to make a decision on a claim within four months of lodgement.
• Changes to timeframes are permitted where they cannot be practically met.

2022 Floods

Housing demand creates planning challenges

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NSW Northern Rivers Breaking News

Housing demand creates planning challenges

The current lack of affordable and diverse housing for buyers and renters is a crisis which is confronting all levels of government.

A move to regional areas, limited government investment in social housing, a boom in short terms rentals, COVID-19, the recent floods and inflation have put great pressures on the property market.

While housing is primarily the responsibility of federal and state governments, Tweed Shire Council plays a key role as a determining authority/regulator for housing and planning law.

 

Council acts on unauthorised dwellings. Over the last 2 years, Council has contributed to an increased supply of affordable housing by encouraging diverse and affordable housing through the approval of more than 130 DAs involving secondary dwelling (granny flats) development controls, in addition to established dual occupancy controls.

In recognising the housing crisis, Council has worked collectively through the Northern Rivers Joint Organisation (NRJO) and Local Government NSW, to be an advocate for action on new social housing supply and affordability policies.

Over the last 2 years, Council has contributed to an increased supply of affordable housing by encouraging diverse and affordable housing through the approval of more than 130 DAs involving secondary dwelling (granny flats) development controls, in addition to established dual occupancy controls.

Attached dual occupancy dwellings are also possible in many rural areas, in addition to established urban areas.

More information can be found at tweed.nsw.gov.au/granny-flats-secondary dwellings

Additional dual occupancy information can also be found at tweed.nsw.gov.au/dual-occupancy

While Council provides a supportive approach to people affected by the housing crisis, it also has an important statutory responsibility to ensure that any land uses or building works provide a safe and secure housing.

Council recently resolved at its 7 July 2022 meeting to reinforce its role in undertaking compliance action on unauthorised dwellings.

General Manager Troy Green said Council had rescinded the resolution at Item 21.1 of the 2 June 2022 Confidential Council Meeting. The resolution sought to extend an initial moratorium from its 4 November 2021 meeting on taking compliance action on unauthorised dwellings up until 30 September 2022.

“After attending a workshop and gaining additional advice from staff, Councillors acknowledged there may be significant risks for Council to extend the earlier moratorium,” Mr Green said.

“In response to the potential risk and liability identified, it was agreed that a late report be submitted to the Extraordinary Council Meeting of 7 July 2022, seeking to rescind Council’s resolution from the 2 June 2022 meeting.

“Council also resolved that any new compliance matters would be subject to the current requirements of Council’s adopted Compliance Policy.”

Unauthorised building works carried out without required formal approval and certification can pose significant risk to life and property.

In other scenarios, unauthorised building works could also be poorly located on sites which are flood prone, bushfire prone, contaminated or landslip areas and thereby present similar life-threatening, public health and environmental hazards.

Council encourages people to undertake their land use activities with proper consent and approvals to avoid causing a nuisance or acting in breach of legislation.

Council has a compliance policy which guides the approach and response to a range of compliance issues.

However we also rely on the community to report unauthorised work and provide evidence to assist Council in taking action.

Compliance officers use their discretion when dealing with such matters, taking into account the evidence, cost to the community of any action, details of the case, public policy and legal precedent.

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2022 Floods

MAYORAL MINUTE: Calls to include Clarence in flood data assessment

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MAYORAL MINUTE: Calls to include Clarence in flood data assessment

Clarence Valley Mayor Ian Tiley has demanded the Clarence be included in any 2022 flood studies and assessments after discovering the region had been ignored in initial assessments by a NSW Government department.

Mayor Tiley put forward the Minute at the June Council meeting upon advice from the Department of Planning and Environment that post flood data behaviour assessments already undertaken focused on the Richmond, Wilson, Brunswick and Tweed rivers – local government areas to the north of the Clarence Valley.

Clarence Valley Council was excluded from this work on the basis that flood levels at the Prince Street, Grafton gauge were not considered of the same scale as rivers to the north and that there was already sufficient historical data about river behaviour based on the level at Grafton.

 

The Clarence River peaked at 7.66m at Grafton-below the levee wall and 2013 flood levels.

Mayor Tiley stressed that this decision did not consider the significantly higher flood levels at towns and villages downstream. Grafton’s peak of 7.664m had an average exceedance probability* (AEP) of 6.6 per cent, compared to 2 per cent for Maclean’s 3.36m peak.

“The flood level at Grafton was not a predictor for the flood behaviour downstream,” Mayor Tiley said.

“It is clear the Clarence flood increased in volume as it moved downstream and staff consider it likely the extreme localised rainfall events in the tributaries of the lower catchment impacted Clarence River levels downstream of Grafton, and that post flood data behaviour assessments may inform these assumptions.”

 

The Maclean community fought gallantly to sandbag the town and prevent major flooding after the Clarence River’s peak of 3.36m exceeded the levee wall maximum height of 3.30m

CVC previously reported in April that Yamba experienced its biggest rainfall event on record, with 1267mm in February and March. This included 274.4mm on 28 February – the highest 24-hour February total on record – and 258.2mm on 1 March for a total of 532mm.

“There has been no event or combination of events since records began that comes close to the rainfall totals recorded at Yamba in February and March,” Clarence Valley Council Director Works and Civil Jamie Fleeting said at the time.

 

Harwood Island during the 2022 floods

The Mayoral Minute received unanimous support at the Clarence Valley Council Ordinary Meeting at Maclean Council Chambers.

Council will now advocate through the NSW Premier, Minister for Emergency Services and Resilience, Minister for Environment and Heritage and Member for Clarence that Clarence Valley Council and the Clarence River be included in any other post 2022 flood and storm event studies and assessments undertaken across the Northern Rivers by the Environment Heritage Group or any other State departments.

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2022 Floods

Free soil and water testing available

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Free soil and water testing available

In response to the recent floods and rainfall, North Coast Local Land Services is offering free
soil and water testing for flood affected landholders.
Carly Green, Advisory and Extension Officer in the Sustainable Agriculture team, said, “After
a flood, the quality of on-farm water changes and poor water quality can compromise
livestock health, soil health and affect plant productivity.
“If you suspect your water sources have been exposed to flood water, testing will help you
understand risks and limitations to production.
“Equipment such as irrigation systems can become congested with suspended solids, soil
particles, and mineral deposits.” Carly said.
North Coast Local Land Services is also offering soil testing kits. Flooding and high rainfall
can alter soil fertility and plant available nutrients through erosion, runoff, waterlogging,
leaching and sediment deposition.
Carly continued, “Testing your soil will provide a snapshot of the current state of soil fertility,
including any soil constraints that may need to be managed.
“Knowing your soil fertility and any limitations to production can help you make decisions and
discover potential savings.”
Feed testing is also available if required. Contact our team to discuss your needs by calling
1300 795 299 or Carly Green, Graduate Advisory and Extension Officer – Sustainable
Agriculture on 0456 561 862.

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