Dominic Perrottet admits to ‘unacceptable’ NSW flood response as death tolls rises

Mar 07, 2022
Premier Dominic Perrottet says not a dollar will be spared in the effort to rebuild flood-ravaged Lismore and other northern NSW towns. Source: Getty

Tension and frustration continue to spread across flood-affected areas of NSW as local communities grill NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet on the speed at which official support is being rolled out, as the death toll from the disaster mounts. 

As reported by The Guardian, the NSW death toll sat at six, with the Resilience NSW commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons, reiterating that the state had “go to brace ourselves” for further deaths, with many of the towns and houses still cut off by floodwaters.

In his press conference on the outskirts of Lismore on Saturday, March 5, Perrottet admitted aspects of the emergency flood response were “unacceptable” and residents should not have had to rely on civilian rescuers to survive. 

“We’ve got to learn from this,” he said.

Perrottet said images and words cannot convey the catastrophic level of the devastation wrought by floods. Source: Getty

When pressed on the fact that people were forced to wait on their roofs for days before rescue teams reached them, the Premier claimed he was bound to follow emergency services’ advice that it was not safe to have helicopters flying in the air. 

He said he “thoroughly tested” the advice he received.

Though Perrottet vowed he was “not going to spare a dollar” in flood recovery efforts and promised to “not just rebuild” heavily affected areas like Lismore, he also acknowledged that the scale of the recovery was so mammoth that mistakes would inevitable.

The premier said housing and homelessness would be a significant challenge in northern NSW through the recovery effort. Source: Getty

Emergency services minister, Steph Cooke, said that roughly 1,400 property damage assessments were carried out in Lismore alone, with 900 homes already been deemed uninhabitable. 

Cooke also defended State Emergency Service workers for what she claimed was “unwarranted” criticism, as some communities had resorted to volunteer-led rescues. 

According to Cooke, 5,000 defence force personnel will be deployed actress NSW to assist with flood recovery, with 900 of them starting on Sunday, March 6. 

News of the flood recovery assistance comes a little too late as frustrated communities in the Tweed Valley and Murwillumbah have started crowdfunding to hire helicopters to help deliver medical supplies to cut-off properties, while untrained volunteers performed emergency rescues only for them to discover corpses. 

According to the Insurance Council of Australia, the cost of the flood disaster in NSW alone is now more than $240 million. 

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