Northern Rivers reconstruction efforts

As the temperature drops and the worst of the La Nina weather system eases off, it’s important to remember that local people and communities in the Northern Rivers region are still dealing with acute homelessness and facing some very confronting possibilities about the future of their towns and districts. The very real risk of vast parts of the country, including parts of Lismore for example, being ‘uninsurable’ in the future was canvassed in this ABC News article.

Shelter was pleased to see the NSW Government establish the Northern Rivers Reconstruction Corporation (NRCC). The NRCC which will come into effect from 1 July 2022, and manage the rebuilding…by coordinating planning, rebuilding and construction work across multiple government agencies. We will be writing to the NRCC, offering our assistance and recommending that specific attention be given to the needs of lower-income people in any planning.

We are also exploring our possible contributions to joint projects looking at medium-long term policy responses to the recent floods in Northern NSW, with a focus on housing and homelessness.
In the meantime, we attended a regular NSW Department of Planning update last week where we heard about the department’s efforts to flexibly apply planning rules for moveable dwellings/caravans on private and public land. In short, ‘pop up villages’ can be established without development consent in some instances and be in place for 5 years, and ‘temporary accommodation’ is permitted without consent for 2 years on private land (with some caveats). You can read more about these rules in this Frequently Asked Question flyer released by the Department. During the meeting we raised questions about the level of transparency applied to the site selection process for pop-up villages.