Boxing Day Test In Braidwood

CoomaRoad damage on 25 December 2023

When many people around Australia were settling in to watch the traditional Boxing Day Test cricket in December 2023, residents of Braidwood and surrounds faced a test of a different kind when a supercell weather event battered the region, damaging roads and bridges and cutting off some parts of the community.

Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council road crews put their holiday time with family and friends on hold and were called in to make roads safe, clear debris, and do whatever they could to restore local access for residents. Some local material suppliers and contractors cut their interstate holidays short and returned to Braidwood to open businesses and supply yards so Council could obtain material they needed to undertake urgent repairs.

In some areas more than 250mls of rain fell in less than three hours during the Boxing Day storm. The downpour created a hole 3m deep and 15m long on Cooma Road near Witts Creek. It took several days to restore one lane of traffic for local residents unable to pass this section of road. Hereford Hall Road suffered a full washout at a culvert and residents were trapped on their properties for several days. The supporting structure for the Stony Creek Bridge on Cooma Road also suffered flood damage. Roads and bridges all across the region, from Burra to Majors Creek and Boro, were affected by the Boxing Day storm.

The days and weeks of hard work in challenging conditions was a drain on staff already deserving of an end of year break. It was also a drain on Council’s budget with significant unexpected costs.

However, Council was pleased when recently advised that the Boxing Day storm event had been declared eligible for Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements (DRFA). The DRFA is a jointly funded program between the Australian and NSW state governments, that provides financial assistance with disaster recovery costs.

The financial assistance helps Council with the costs of the restoration of essential public assets such as roads and bridges. It allows Council to engage contractors to assess the damage in detail, prepare the required designs, and undertake the work. Whilst the Natural Disaster Declaration refers to Council assets at this stage, local business and primary producers that have been impacted by this event are encouraged to report damage via the Primary Industries Natural Disaster Damage Survey

Reporting damages help the government to better understand the scale and regional distribution of the impact of a disaster on agriculture and target resources and assistance in an area.

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