24 June 2024

Investment in Flood Mitigation

Like so many people affected by Hawkesbury-Nepean flooding, whether it's Emu Plains, Ebenezer, Windsor or Wilberforce, I want to see tangible changes that make the valley a safer place to live. I'm now seeing the state and federal governments doing more to tackle flood mitigation and preparation than at any time in my 15 years in the community.

First, there's the release of the Hawkesbury-Nepean River flood study, the most comprehensive flood study done in New South Wales, reinforcing that we have one of the highest flood risks in the country. It's there for everyone to use, and the detailed data will be used in planning by Hawkesbury and Penrith councils and other levels of government, including in the work on the first regional disaster adaptation plan that's been developed for the valley.

Then there's the $94.7 million investment in the SES which Premier Chris Minns joined me in the Hawkesbury to discuss. It's the largest ongoing commitment in the SES's history to help prepare for floods that can be far worse than what we've experienced in the last few years. It'll buy new equipment, support training and volunteer recruitment and improve public information and warnings.

Then there are the roads upgrades. Federal funding, which has helped the state identify and problem-solve more than a hundred road weaknesses, is aimed at improving drainage, lifting local roads and increasing culverts so roads stay open for longer during an evacuation. These are really tangible steps that are being taken.

Together the state and federal governments are building the new Richmond Bridge, which will be around 10 metres higher than the existing one and will be able to withstand a one-in-20-years flood, and we're improving evacuation routes via the Driftway. There's more to do, like the Pitt Town evacuation route, and it will take time, but it's happening under Labor.