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Floods Frustration

[vc_row][vc_column width=”1/6″ offset=”vc_col-lg-1/5 vc_col-md-1/5 vc_col-xs-1/5″][us_image image=”81825″ size=”thumbnail” align=”left” style=”circle” has_ratio=”1″][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/12″ offset=”vc_col-lg-4/5 vc_col-md-4/5 vc_col-xs-4/5″][vc_column_text]By Annette Madjarian[/vc_column_text][us_post_date][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Residents across the wider Hills to Hawkesbury region affected by flooding are living on edge and struggling, while the State and Federal Governments play political hot potato over funding for the Warragamba Dam wall-raising project.

NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet last month reportedly said his Government’s top priority was keeping people safe from imminent flooding. He committed to expediting the Warragamba Dam project by declaring it a critical State Significant Infrastructure project. He also said $132 million had been allocated to the SES in the recent budget, and that a new SES headquarters site will be built in the Hawkesbury.

The Galston, Glenorie & Hills Rural Community News approached NSW Hornsby MP and Treasurer Matt Kean’s office for a comment about the raising of the dam wall but was provided with a response from a NSW Government spokesperson, saying it “was committed to the project to protect people and properties”.

“We welcome the Prime Minister’s commitment to properly consider a funding proposal to raise the Warragamba Dam, following relevant state planning and approvals. This commitment backs up written communication between both governments in July, where the NSW Government requested a 50/50 funding arrangement and that was acknowledged by the Federal Government,” the NSW Government spokesperson said.

Meanwhile, residents in local flood-prone areas continue to be on alert, following consistent rain.

In October, the Wisemans Ferry Rural Fire Brigade held a Community Recovery and Planning Day, made up of the various emergency services, local Councils, residents and others.

Volunteers from the NSW SES Hills Unit have continued to visit flood affected areas, including parts of the community isolated due to landslides, and road and ferry closures.

Hills Shire North Ward Councillor Mitchell Blue, who attended the Community Recovery and Planning Day, said residents were struggling, frustrated and living on edge every time the weather was forecast for heavy rain.

“Residents are resilient, there is no doubt about that, but it comes a point in which no matter how resilient someone is, experiencing these events over and over in such a short period of time, it eventually takes its toll,” he said.

However, Councillor Blue said the “community spirit” was still alive. “Through conversation, support and that ‘never give up’ attitude, residents will get through this. There is still a long way to go and I encourage anyone experiencing mental health issues to ask for help.”

Meanwhile, Hornsby Shire Council has endorsed a draft Flood Risk Management Study for public exhibition[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]