NSW Labor’s $225 million Western Sydney flood resilience plan to minimise future flood events

A Minns Labor Government will commit $225 million for a Western Sydney Floods Resilience Plan to commence immediate work on projects including evacuation roads, levees and critical communications infrastructure that will help improve and bolster flood prevention and evacuation infrastructure across Western Sydney.
We have all seen the devastating floods in Western Sydney where roads have been cut off, homes evacuated, businesses destroyed – some for the fourth time this year.
Unfortunately, we have to expect and plan for more flooding emergencies in NSW like we have seen this year.
The financial and personal cost of these tragic events outweighs any other factor. During the February and March floods earlier this year across the state, four people tragically lost their lives ,169,000 people were forced to evacuate, and 4000 buildings rendered uninhabitable. The cost to state and federal governments for support and rebuild will be over $8 billion.

This funding package is a commitment from Labor to help reduce the impacts of flooding in communities situated in flood prone areas.
We welcome the Federal Government’s initial commitment of $300 million in roads in the North West corridor.
If elected, NSW Labor will also seek to partner with the Federal Government in matching today’s roads funding announcement.
Importantly – the $225 million in funding commitments will be required to be spent within two years. While the current NSW Government wants to spend the next five years in the planning phase, Labor wants to see planning and work commence far quicker. Communities at risk of flooding have waited long enough for action.
Road Upgrades
NSW Labor will commit $200 million to identify, plan, and commence work on critical evacuation roads and bridges across Western Sydney.
Selection of road upgrades will be done in consultation with local councils, businesses, community groups and other key stakeholders to ensure this funding goes to the roads that can have the most immediate and significant impact.
Funding will need to be spent within two years – ensuring immediate action to protect communities.
NSW Labor will also invest in installing live traffic cameras on local roads and bridges to assist residents when they attempt to evacuate.
NSW Labor will commit $24 million to protect communities around Hawkesbury and Nepean River and Camden and Picton from large scale flooding by building new levees at Peachtree Creek levee, McGraths Hill levee and Pitt Town levee.
Peachtree Creek levee:
Estimated to cost $1.3 million, the Peachtree Creek levee will help protect properties between the Nepean River and Penrith CBD from backwater flooding with an earthen levee, a retaining wall and floodgates.

It would include Peachtree Creek main levee, including floodgates over Boundary Creek; Old Ferry Road levee; and Tennis Court levee.
McGraths Hill levee:
Estimated to cost $8 million, the McGraths Hill levee will help protect residential properties in against flooding up to the 1 in 50 chance per year event. It would block flows that enter the suburb through low lying areas to the south and east.
Pitt Town levee:
Estimated to cost $9.6 million, the Pitt Town levee will help protect residential areas within the town by blocking flows that enter through low lying areas to the south and east.
Communications infrastructure
Telecommunications are critical infrastructure but are susceptible to failure in the event of natural disaster such as fire and flood.
That’s why NSW Labor will purchase four Cells on Wheels stations for deployment in emergencies at a cost of $1 million.
These are a self-powered, trailer mounted, cell towers that can be deployed to disaster areas to replace damaged or destroyed mobile phone towers.
NSW Labor will also increase access to Department of Primary Industries water gauges on rivers and creeks to help residents monitor rising flood levels and make the real time data easier to access and use.   

These projects – along with a balanced approach to lowering the maximum capacity of Warragamba Dam while ensuring the replacement of any lost capacity in drinking water – can all be actioned far quicker than any mooted plan by the NSW Government.

Importantly, this also recognises that 45 per cent of flood waters in the area come from rivers other than Warragamba.
Communities facing continual flood risk – and who have faced floods several times in the last year alone – need urgent action and solutions that can be delivered right now, not in another decade.
Chris Minns, NSW Labor Leader said:

This is only the beginning of Labor’s flood mitigation plan.
“I’ve visited these communities and inspected the flood damage. It’s heartbreaking talking to families who have lost homes, businesses who have to start from scratch.
“The fact of the matter is these communities will face continual flood risk – and we need urgent action and solutions that can be delivered right now, not in another decade.
“These are sensible actions we can take right now to help improve the flood resilience and emergency response across these communities.”

Shadow Minister for Emergency Management, Jihad Dib said:
“This is a very sensible approach that seeks to address some of the challenges we have seen during recent flooding events. By having better mitigation, communication and evacuation strategies, we are working to provide the best possible response to flooding events to communities at their time of vulnerability.
“We have all seen the problems people and emergency service personnel have faced when communications are lost during natural disasters.  These Cells on Wheels are easily moved and will play a very important and practical role in ensuring communication can be established and maintained at times when they are needed most.
“Far too often, impractical evacuation routes have served to isolate communities and placed them at further risk. This is something that needs to be fixed.”
Shadow Minister for Roads John Graham said:
“Ensuring communities have adequate flood evacuation routes is common sense and yet we have seen these roads and the people living in these areas neglected through poor planning for rapidly growing populations.”

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