Preview Below - Click here to read my full submission
2022 NSW Flood Inquiry20 May 2022
Dear Ms O’Kane and Mr Fuller
I welcome the opportunity to contribute to the 2022 NSW Flood Inquiry. The recent floods in the Northern Rivers have seriously impacted already highly impacted communities. Coming on the back of the 2017 floods, the 2019 Black Summer bushfires, and two years of the Covid19 pandemic, the floods this year have devastated our communities. People lost their lives, thousands of people have been traumatised and displaced, and many are suffering and will suffer from long-term mental health impacts, as well as poverty and homelessness. There were 3,396 homes made uninhabitable across the region and another 6,708 were inundated, worsening the existing housing crisis. People are living in cars, caravans, tents, garage floors, friend’s houses, or sleeping rough. The recovery across the electorate is ongoing and will be long term, not just the physical and economic rebuilding but flood-related emotional trauma.
As the Member for Ballina, my office has been kept busy with requests for assistance and information from constituents directly affected by the flooding events, as well as businesses that have suffered damage and losses. Constituents and small business owners have sought advice through my office about flood clean-up, temporary accommodation, and how to access financial support. During the first two weeks of the flood, my office provided rescue and evacuation information to our communities. I met with distressed and fearful people during and after the evacuation phase, and I have been kept up to date each week with the progress of the State government’s recovery plan, including the establishment of a Reconstruction Corporation.
My submission will focus on gaps and mis-steps in terms of rescue and recovery. Please note that in my discussion of combat agency response I am not at all critical of any member of the 14-plus combat agencies that assisted our communities. I want to highlight gaps and problems, so that solutions and preparedness can be identified and worked for. As elected representatives we need to support people in our communities to adapt to future supercharged storms and extreme weather events, including bushfires. We need to see planning reforms that inhibit development in weather and flood vulnerable localities, explore flood mitigation, refine local government responses to extreme weather events, resource councils, plan for housing relief in the Northern Rivers, deliver genuine, long-term mental health supports, improve telecommunications, address the shortage of rescue volunteers, and tackle problems in the transition from incident response to recovery.
Click here to read my full submission
Media Release - 09 June 2022
Community takes control of Short-Term Holiday Letting in Byron Shire
Today the NSW Minister for Planning, Anthony Roberts, announced that Byron Shire Council and the Byron community will now have the power to cap short-term-holiday in the Shire.
Tamara Smith MP, Member for Ballina said: “This is a fantastic win for our community because we get to shape the way our villages in Byron Shire grow rather than property developers and market forces.
“It is disappointing that we have to wait 12 months for Council’s proposed 90-day cap to be implemented across most of the Shire, but it will make a huge difference whenever it comes into effect.
“The Department of Planning’s own modelling shows that at least 1,500 whole homes will come onto the rental market once the 90-day cap is implemented. Given the housing crises in the Northern Rivers this cannot come into effect soon enough,” Ms Smith said.
“The State government has recognised that Byron faces unique and exceptional circumstances, and has given the council the unique authority to control short-term holiday letting.
“The community has been lobbying for over a decade to reign in unfettered short-term holiday letting in Byron Shire and we have all been aghast at the statistics of 3000 plus whole homes being entirely let on holiday platforms at any one time” Ms Smith said.
“Our community will be one of the only communities in Australia that can decide how our towns grow in terms of prioritising homes for residents and workers and it comes after years of people facing loss of amenity from party houses and zero rental availability in Byron Shire.
“I thank Anthony Roberts for having the courage to stare down powerful lobbyists in order to support our community, and recognise the leadership of Byron Shire Council Director Shannon Burt for this outstanding outcome.”
Tamara Smith MP
Member for Ballina
Media Release - 25/02/2022
Tamara Smith MP, Member for Ballina and Greens NSW Agriculture Spokesperson recently announced a new Greens Agriculture and Rural Land Use Policy.
"After extensive consultation with farmers, ecologists and Greens members I can announce our new Agriculture and Rural Land Use Policy. Our policy draws on principles of Regenerative Agriculture and Agro-ecology and presents a win-win for farming in New South Wales. Improving land use and food systems in NSW will dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions while at the same time improving long-term profitability and productivity, protecting ecosystems, and building more resilient communities". Ms Smith said
Listen to the full speech
Read the policy