Boost to support flood-affected residents in Hawkesbury region


The NSW Government is delivering flood roads and emergency service upgrades to bolster the Hawkesbury community against the devastating effect of floods.

Today, the government announced details of a $94.7 million investment in the NSW State Emergency Service (SES) to strengthen flood preparedness and response across the state and at key flood risk areas, including the Hawkesbury-Nepean Valley and the Northern Rivers.

This new injection of funding is a significant operational uplift for the agency over 4 years that will:

  • Improve flood planning to better prepare for and respond to floods
  • Fund critical fleet maintenance and new equipment
  • Support training and volunteer recruitment activity
  • Enhance public information, warnings and community engagement through channels like the SES website and the Hazards Near Me App.

A further $18 million will be invested over the first 12 months to improve flood planning, intelligence and rescue response capability, coordination, operational systems, training, exercising and support for NSW SES volunteers.

The new funding builds on a $14.9 million statewide fleet investment which is already underway, providing additional vehicles and vessels which have bolstered the NSW SES’s flood rescue response during recent severe weather events.

By the end of July, the SES will have rolled out 164 new assets across the state, including 40 vessels, 75 ark angel rafts, 45 command vehicles, 2 heavy rescue vehicles and 2 trailers. Many of these assets have already played a significant role in response to severe weather events.

NSW SES units in the Northern Rivers, Central West and Hawkesbury-Nepean Valley have all received equipment, delivering on recommendations from the independent 2022 NSW Flood Inquiry to improve flood rescue capabilities.

In addition, planning for more than 100 infrastructure improvements are underway as part of the Hawkesbury-Nepean Valley Flood Evacuation Road Resilience program.

From today, the construction industry can submit proposals to build the crucial bypass of Pitt Town. The bypass will improve congestion by taking traffic out of Pitt Town, helping residents of the Hawkesbury evacuate faster during floods. Transport for NSW expects to award the major construction contract to build the bypass in 2025.

The Driftway and Londonderry Road intersection upgrade has been brought forward as part of an election commitment by the NSW Government, providing a new roundabout and an additional lane to improve road capacity during evacuations. Construction on this upgrade is expected to start in 2025, with early investigation and development work already underway.

Transport for NSW will also begin engaging with industry to build the New Richmond Bridge and Traffic Improvements Project – a $500 million joint initiative with the Australian Government. The new bridge will be around 10m higher than the existing crossing of Hawkesbury and will be able to withstand a one in 20-year flood.

These flood road upgrades are part of a $200 million commitment by the NSW Government to deliver major evacuation routes in the flood-prone Hawkesbury-Nepean.

NSW Premier Chris Minns said:

“Communities in the Hawkesbury-Nepean Valley know all too well the devastating effects of flooding.

“The NSW Government has been working hard to get flood preparation and mitigation right.

“This includes creating safer, faster evacuation routes, improving flood resilience on our roads and ensuring the SES is well equipped to safeguard our communities in times of crisis.”

Minister for Emergency Services Jihad Dib said:

“SES volunteers work tirelessly to keep communities safe. In recent months more than 4000 volunteers responded to flooding incidents across the state, including the Hawkesbury-Nepean, as NSW received two months’ worth of rain over 36 hours in April.

“In June our volunteers were again ready and responded to more than 1800 incidents, ensuring communities that were cut-off by rising flood waters were well supported.

“This additional funding will provide a significant boost to allow our SES volunteers to continue to help save lives and minimise the impact of disasters on communities.

“The NSW Government has been ensuring NSW SES volunteers are ready to respond, with new vessels and rescue vehicles rolled out across the state. Now we are making sure the SES are able to enhance their support with additional, sustained funding.”

Minister for Roads John Graham said:

“A new Richmond Bridge will help improve flood resilience for this local community.

“Pitt Town Bypass will take through traffic out of the town centre, which is a known congestion spot, assisting flood evacuation in the Hawkesbury region.

“We are finalising plans to widen of roads in this area to ensure we can get families and residents out and emergency services in safely during times of crisis.”

NSW State Emergency Service acting Commissioner Deb Platz APM said:

“This investment from the NSW Government represents the largest ongoing commitment in our agency’s history. In recent years we have experienced severe flooding in the Hawkesbury-Nepean Valley and across the state, but we know we need to be as prepared as possible and that floods can be far worse than we have experienced over the past few years.

“The long-range forecasts indicate we may see above average rainfall in coastal areas between July and September. We may also have severe weather any time. People should be prepared for the possibility of further flooding along saturated catchments.

“We want people to know their risks, get prepared and follow all advice from NSW SES.”

/Public Release. View in full here.