Residential property owners in seven local government areas in NSW impacted by the floods between February and March this year can have their homes retrofitted or bought back.

The Commonwealth and New South Wales Government’s joint funding for a $800m Northern Rivers Resilient Homes Fund program will support around 2,000 residential homeowners in Ballina, Byron, Clarence Valley, Kyogle, Lismore, Richmond Valley, and Tweed — these are the flood-prone areas of the Northern Rivers region. 

The program will provide financial assistance of up to $100,000 for house raising or up to $50,000 for retrofitting for homeowners in areas where flood risk can be reduced by better building standards.

Meanwhile, the NSW Government will set aside $100m to acquire land and open up new flood-safe locations for future development. This will be in partnership with the Northern Rivers Reconstruction Corporation.

The voluntary buy-back scheme will be offered to Northern Rivers residents who are in most vulnerable areas where major flooding is a significant threat to life.

Residential property owners will be offered one of the options — buybacks, house raising, or renovations and retrofitting — depending on expert property assessments that would take into consideration the flood impact severity data, safety risks, and potential future flood levels.

NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet said the Resilient Homes Program would assist residents in Northern Rivers to act towards recovery and boost the community resilience in the long term.

“I saw first-hand the devastation extreme flooding caused across the Northern Rivers and I hope this program provides relief for so many residents who have suffered for too long,” he said.

“We are stepping up to provide options for residents to move out of harm’s way and protect themselves and their families, but we cannot continue to build back as we have in the past.”

Qualifying for the assistance and the program

The Flood Property Assessment Program is the first step affected homeowners can take to see if they are eligible for the assistance.

This is an opt-in program that will generate a free, detailed assessment report that includes a comprehensive scope of repair works and estimated costs.

The reports generated by the program will only be available to the owners and can be submitted to insurers and builders to assist with repair planning and rebuilding.

Registered homeowners are automatically considered for the Resilient Homes Program.

Meanwhile, other homeowners can register their interest in the assistance by submitting their details under the Resilient Homes Program.

Eligible homeowners will be contacted by the NSW Government by mid-November.

Photo by bnewton_design from Pixabay.