Murwillumbah Town Levee

Tweed Shire has received almost $6 million from the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) to fund flood mitigation projects in the region. 

In February 2022, the Tweed Shire region suffered from record breaking flood damage, particularly to the road network, and has an estimated damages bill of more than $110 million to Council infrastructure alone.

The funding announcement was made by Federal Minister for Emergency Management, Murray Watt, as part of a $150 million commitment by the Federal Government to improve the disaster resilience of the Northern Rivers region.

The funding announcement coincided with the release of two CSIRO reports into the 2022 flood in the Northern Rivers.

The Tweed projects were announced as part of the first phase of the Northern Rivers Resilience Initiative which will see 16 projects recommended by the CSIRO funded to the tune of $50 million, with the bulk of the funding to go to Lismore.

Tweed projects given the green light include:

  • A new pump system within the East Murwillumbah Levee (south of George Street) to assist with drainage – $1,461,114
  • New low flow pump at Lavender Creek and Murwillumbah CBD – $969,106
  • Earthworks across Lot 4 on Quarry Road to preserve the South Murwillumbah Condong flowpath – $942,480
  • Additional Wharf Street, Murwillumbah pump capacity – $2,355,065

Funding will also be shared between the seven Local Government Areas (LGAs) of the Northern Rivers, including the Tweed, on several regional-wide programs, including:

  • Regional program to increase community flood risk awareness, through information campaigns and flood warning signs – $3 million
  • Regional program to complete flood level surveys for buildings across all LGAs to input into flood risk assessments – $800,000
  • Regional assessment of evacuation routes, their capacity and options for infrastructure upgrades across all LGAs – $1.2 million

Mayor of Tweed Shire, Chris Cherry, welcomed the commitment of funding for some of the projects put forward to the CSIRO by Council’s flood management team.

“We look forward to working with both tiers of government to deliver these projects as part of the first tranche of funding, as well as future projects as part of the greater $150 million package,” Mayor Cherry said.

“It is really critical for the resilience of the community moving forward that we are focused on what we can do to prevent such devastation from happening again. While we can’t do much to control the weather, we can put measures in place to reduce risk to both the community and infrastructure.”

Council’s Director Engineering, David Oxenham, said the additional funding was most welcome.

“The projects selected by the CSIRO reflect those projects in Council’s various floodplain risk management plans which predated the 2022 flood,” Mr Oxenham said.

“They will require further investigation to determine their feasibility and current estimated costs, and this will take some time to complete. These projects are at various stages of development with some currently being investigated and others which remain in the preliminary stages of development.

“Council has been the recipient of a large number of grant programs across roads, drainage, flood mitigation, community resilience, environmental restoration and more, and while we are grateful for this funding injection, we need time to find the resources to administer these grants, allocate our own works crews and technical specialists, and try to find and appoint contractors in a market that is overheated – all while ensuring value for public money.

“We will keep the community up to date as we schedule these grant-funded works into our existing works program.”

Since the flood, Council has introduced several new flood mitigation systems, including the launch of live flood monitoring cameras, which allow residents to access real-time footage of key vantage points across the Tweed. 

The Burringbar, Mooball and Crabbes Creek Flash Flood Alert system, developed together with the local community and the SES, also provides an early alert to residents along these creek systems.

Feature image: Murwillumbah CBD levee at Wharf Street. Provided by Tweed Shire Council.

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