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More NSW council areas get disaster pay

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Federal government payments to people affected by the recent NSW floods have been extended to another eight council areas, taking the total to 37.

The new areas are Cumberland, Mid Coast, Muswellbrook, Nambucca, Newcastle, Port Stephens, Randwick and Warren.

Residents who have suffered significant losses as a result of last week’s storms and flooding can access payments of $1000 per adult and $400 per child.

“The floods were widespread and lasted several days, and as the extent of the damage is reported, we are continuing to make sure support is made available,” Emergency Management Minister Murray Watt said.

“This funding will help to provide for immediate needs, including temporary accommodation, food and clothing.”

The payments are tax-exempt and not means-tested.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said the federal and NSW governments were working closely together to support victims of the disaster.

“We want to work with all states and territories when disaster strikes because we know that it’s a long road back for people who are suffering through the current period,” he said in Sydney on Tuesday.

“Already, as of today, some 621,700 people affected by these severe floods have received more than $514 million [from] the Australian government disaster assistance program.”

Premier Dominic Perrottet said an independent review of NSW’s preparedness for the floods earlier this year, led by former police commissioner Mick Fuller and top scientist Mary O’Kane, was due at the end of the month.

“There’s no doubt these events are becoming more prevalent,” he said.

“A lot of [the review] will focus on the immediate response to these disasters but there’s no doubt there will be a medium to long-term focus.”

When asked about the possible relocating people from hard-hit areas, particularly Lismore in northern NSW, Mr Albanese said rudimentary discussions had taken place between state and federal governments but nothing was definitive.

“I don’t think we’ve had a discussion about relocating the whole of Lismore, but what we have had on a pretty informal basis is discussion about planning.”

“Planning and development on floodplains is something that is primarily the responsibility of state governments, but common sense has got to apply here.”

Mr Perrottet said his government would make sure not to repeat “mistakes of the past”.

In March, authorities received widespread criticism of the handling of the crisis after people were left stranded on roofs in Lismore following a record 14.37-metre flood.