Hawkesbury Forgotten On Flood Resilience

Corporate - Flood resilience webMore than 20 months on from the July 2022 floods, there is still no progress from the State and Federal Governments on protecting the Hawkesbury from the next flood event.

As Council continues the recovery process of restoring $177 million of roads to their pre-flood condition, plus damage to parks and riverbanks, local pleas for government assistance to improve flood mitigation and evacuation routes have been ignored.

The July 2022 flood was the highest flood at Windsor since March 1978 (14.46m) and both the March and July floods had recurrence intervals of approximately 1 in 20-year chance. These were off the back of floods experienced in 2020 and 2021. There are also early predictions for the return of wetter La Nina weather conditions this winter, increasing the chances of further flooding just as the Hawkesbury is getting back on its feet.

Hawkesbury City Mayor Sarah McMahon said it was only a matter of time before the next flood, and the Hawkesbury is no safer than it was two years ago.

“Hawkesbury City Council has learned an incredible amount from our experiences since the first of six floods in 2020. Sadly, the same can’t be said for the State and Federal governments,” Mayor McMahon said.

“Promises to raise Warragamba Dam have been scrapped. Recommendations from the 2022 Upper House inquiry into flooding to immediately fund the Pitt Town flood evacuation route have come to nothing.

“While the state and federal infrastructure recovery grants have been invaluable to restoring our roads, the process has proven to be far from straightforward for our hardworking staff.

“Our repeated offers to meet with NSW Premier Chris Minns were turned down, however I do thank Emergency Services Minister Jihad Dib and Planning Minister Paul Scully for the time they took to meet us.”

The State Member for Hawkesbury, Robyn Preston said the NSW Government has not offered a solution to protect our residents, primary producers, their livestock, businesses, schools, hospitals or roads from future flooding.

“Premier Minns was quick to ditch the raising of Warragamba Dam wall, but has not funded any alternative,” Ms Preston said, then asking, “what is your solution Premier Minns and when will it happen?”

Mayor McMahon said Hawkesbury residents were sick of being forgotten.

“Our residents are furious and rightly so. They’re sick of feeling anxiety every time it rains. They’re fed up of seeing the rest of Sydney’s gleaming new roads while Council fights to rebuild roads before the next big flood rolls through,” Mayor McMahon said.

“I repeat my invitation to Premier Minns to have the courage and compassion to come out and see for himself the challenges we are facing and show the Hawkesbury that he does care.”

/Public Release. View in full here.