Advocating for a better model of funding for Disaster Recovery Works
Lithgow City Council Mayor, Maree Statham recently travelled to the NSW Parliament House to advocate for a better model of funding for disaster recovery works. The Mayor, and the Council’s General Manager, met with the Minister for Emergency Services Jihad Dib, and the Minister for Planning and Public Spaces Paul Scully. The Local Member Paul Toole had facilitated the discussions. Mr Simon Draper from the NSW Reconstruction Authority also attended.
The Mayor explained that Lithgow had been subject to repeated disaster declarations over recent years. The Mayor said, “The Council delegation made the point that we had spent more than $13 million on disaster recovery works, but the lengthy and retrospective process of then seeking reimbursement was causing financial hardship for the Council. We explained that until these funds were recouped, numerous projects across the city would have to stop, including other disaster recovery works. With more than $25 million of other disaster recovery works still to be done, we suggested a change to the funding model with funds advanced early, allowing projects to be restarted without impacting Council’s financial sustainability.”
The Mayor added, “Our delegation was very pleased with the response from the Ministers, and the Reconstruction Authority. It was stated that the Government would be prepared to move the Council to a system where the approved funding is provided before projects commence. There was also a commitment given to advance the payments for those funds the Council had already outlaid.”
“It was well worth me travelling to Sydney to push this matter on behalf of the community. The outcome offered will allow the works to recommence shortly.”