March 31, 2017

Northern Rivers natural disaster zone

After days of heavy rain leading to road closures and flooding, the Northern Rivers area has been declared a Natural Disaster Zone, with the Government announcing disaster assistance for communities in the region.

Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements (NDRRA) is providing assistance to the local government areas of:

  • Ballina
  • Byron
  • Kyogle
  • Lismore
  • Richmond Valley
  • Tweed.

Assistance includes:

• Help for eligible people whose homes or belongings have been damaged

• Support for affected local councils to help with the costs of cleaning up and restoring damaged essential public assets
• Concessional interest rate loans for small businesses, primary producers and non-profit organisations
• Freight subsidies for primary producers; and
• Grants to non-profit organisations.

Ballina MP Tamara Smith said the rain and flood damage across such a wide area is shocking.

"Although we were warned in advance of the amount of rain, it is still awful to experience flood damage and to be unable to travel due to road closures. My deepest sympathies are with home owners and business owners who have been affected by flooding," she said.

"I know our emergency services and volunteers have been very busy and are doing as much as they can. I am grateful to them for their courage and hard work during a crisis like this."

"It is good to hear that both State and Federal governments are offering recovery assistance to help flooded communities," said Ms Smith.

For information on personal hardship and distress assistance, contact the Disaster Welfare Assistance Line on 1800 018 444.

To apply for a concessional loan, grant or freight subsidy, contact the NSW Rural Assistance Authority on 1800 678 593 or visit

Further information on disaster assistance is available at and

Landholders who need help with emergency support for their livestock, emergency fodder, stock water and other materials should contact North Coast Local Land Services on 1300 795 299.

The following contact numbers are also provided for those impacted by the current flood emergency:

  • For all calls relating to property damage refer to SES (Flood & Storm Response) 132 500 
  • For financial assistance contact Department of Human Services (Centrelink) 132 850 
  • Emergency housing inquiries including temporary accommodation contact Department of Family and Community Services (Housing Centre) 1800 422 322

Essential Energy will continue to provide updates on Facebook and Twitter and customers can call them on 13 20 80 for further information.

Roads and Maritime Service advises:

Road users are encouraged to consider delaying their journey and avoid the area where possible, drive to the conditions and speed limits on detour routes and never attempt to drive through floodwaters.

Electronic message signs will provide motorists with information about detours and current impact is available via LiveTraffic on 132 701 or

Please drive safely.

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