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North NSW reconstruction body after floods

NSW Premier says the body will smooth the recovery path

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Community input and local knowledge will be crucial to guiding a new state government corporation established to rebuild the NSW northern rivers region following months of devastating floods.

The Northern Rivers Reconstruction Corporation will work with local councils to rebuild transport and communications infrastructure as well as push the economic recovery, including providing jobs in the region.

Premier Dominic Perrottet announced the new body in Lismore, saying it would reduce the bureaucracy that had delayed recovery efforts, as well as prepare for inevitable future floods.

“We can’t go through such a substantive event and do things the way we’ve done things in the past,” he said on Tuesday.

“Areas of government can operate in silos and not in co-ordination.”

Regional NSW deputy secretary of commercial and corporate services David Witherdin will lead the new corporation.

“In terms of our success it’s going to be working with communities here … it’s absolutely about having solutions that are fit for purpose at that local level,” Mr Witherdin said.

The flood recovery effort was progressing in the northern rivers but there was still a long way to go, Mr Perrottet said.

The new body was an acknowledgement of a challenging two months for the region.

“There has been a lot of pain and suffering for many people,” Mr Perrottet said.

“We’ve had people lose their lives. Many people have had their homes destroyed, businesses lost. It has been a very difficult time.”

The new corporation, which will officially form on July 1, will recognise the need for communities to adapt for future events.

The new corporation is complementary to Resilience NSW and the work of northern rivers recovery co-ordinator Mal Lanyon, with a focus on the medium and long- term response.

Mr Perrottet said he did not want to see “bloated bureaucracy”.

Lismore MP Janelle Saffin has been calling for a single government body to lead the rebuilding effort.

The announcement demonstrated the magnitude of the disaster, which was different to previous floods in the region.

At least 10 people died during the floods across the northern rivers and western Sydney.

Lismore was hit with repeated flooding as relentless rain drenched the region throughout February and March.

Some 2000 temporary modular homes that can accommodate up to four people will be delivered to flood-affected areas, the government announced on Sunday.

The first modular homes are due to be installed at Wollongbar, west of Ballina, but installing them will take about a month.

Other temporary housing options include motorhomes, accommodation at recreation camps, and 16 weeks’ rental support.

-AAP