Flooded Gunnedah in NSW

Gunnedah Shire Council is calling for immediate Federal and State Government assistance to help the region recover from recent floods that have caused damage to critically-enabling infrastructure and severely impacted primary producers.

Gunnedah Shire Council Mayor, Jamie Chaffey, said Gunnedah Shire was among 220 regions declared as natural disaster areas in 2022. 

Local Government NSW (LGNSW) and the Country Mayors Association of New South Wales have already declared a Statewide Roads Emergency and called on the Federal and State Governments for urgent help.

Mayor Chaffey said once floodwaters dispersed, it was not a simple matter of opening roads. 

The roads needed to be assessed to ensure they were safe for traffic, and to gauge whether 4WDs and heavy vehicles were going to cause irreversible damage. 

Council also said that this catastrophic damage to the roads network could carry with it a generational financial burden.

“We know what our community needs, but it is beyond the scope of any local government authority to do this alone,” Mayor Chaffey said. 

“The local and regional road network is critically-enabling infrastructure.

“Yes, we need financial assistance. We also need people, plants and equipment to get this sorted. We need our Federal and State leaders to lead.

“We absolutely support our peak bodies the LGNSW and the Country Mayors Association of NSW. We need help, and we need it now.

“We are very concerned about our primary producers who have come through the drought only to have wave after wave of floods,” Mayor Chaffey said. 

“This latest flood hit at a time when crops are ready to be harvested and farmers have a short window to sow their summer crops, including cotton, which is the single largest contributor to our agricultural outputs.

“It is heartbreaking to think that our farmers might have come through this with a crop or healthy livestock, but can’t harvest or get their goods to market. Agriculture remains a lifeline to our community, and we need to support our primary producers for generations to come.”

Mayor Chaffey said it had been a challenging time for the community.  

“Residents and business owners have had to clean up again and again, people have been isolated, some have been unable to get to work or to training or to school,” Mayor Chaffey said. 

“These seemingly relentless weather events take a toll, not only economically, but on every area of people’s lives.”

Gunnedah Shire Council has called on the State Government through Member for Tamworth, Kevin Anderson, for funding for an urgently needed flood mitigation study for Gunnedah Shire to bring forward a list of recommendations.

Mr Anderson has also announced he is seeking an expansion of the Infrastructure Betterment Fund to include all natural disaster events that have impacted Gunnedah Shire. This would commit funding to the repair and rebuilding of public assets.

126 of New South Wales’s 128 local government areas have had natural disaster declarations within the last 12 months, according to the President of Local Government New South Wales (LGNSW), Darriea Turley.

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