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Lismore mayor frustrated by flood report delay as media leaks show £3bn

Written by Javed Iqbal

The mayor of Lismore in northern NSW has called on the state government to release an inquiry report into flooding after hearing unconfirmed leaks from the media and nothing from the government.

The ABC understands the State Government has received an estimate of $3 billion in recovery costs within the findings of a 700-page independent flood report it commissioned to examine the preparation for, cause and response to the crisis.

Other recommendations include buyback and land exchange offers, asset reconstruction and financial measures.

A man poses next to a fireplace
Lismore Mayor Steve Krieg had both his home and business damaged in the flooding in February.(ABC News: Bronwyn Herbert)

Lismore Mayor Steve Krieg said he was frustrated the government had not publicly released the results.

“I read the information in the paper today, but I have not received any direct information from the government at all,” Mr Krieg said.

“It would be nice to have a bit of an update and a briefing. What the people of Lismore really need now is hope and certainty and at the moment we have neither.”

About 4,000 homes were damaged by floods in February and March.

It is understood the government will seek funding from the Commonwealth to help rebuild and disaster-proof communities.

A dilapidated house covered in mold and dirt
A flood affected house on Wotherspoon St in North Lismore. (Four Corners: Tajette O’Halloran)

The study’s recommendations, led by NSW Chief Scientist and Engineer Mary O’Kane and former Police Commissioner Mick Fuller, were handed to Premier Dominic Perrottet a week ago.

The findings are likely to lead to the disbandment of disaster agency Resilience NSW, which was heavily criticized for its response to the Northern Rivers floods.

The ABC understands a proposal to wind up Resilience NSW will now be presented to Cabinet.

Resilience NSW Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons, who led the government’s response to the Black Summer bushfires, has yet to comment on the report or his future employment.

The report is still under review by the government.

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Javed Iqbal

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