JIGGI FUNDING: Mayor Isaac Smith visited the Jiggi Valley which is still impacted by the 2017 flood. He said the disaster relief system set up by the Federal and State government needs a major overhaul.
JIGGI FUNDING: Mayor Isaac Smith visited the Jiggi Valley which is still impacted by the 2017 flood. He said the disaster relief system set up by the Federal and State government needs a major overhaul. Supplied

'IT'S DISGUSTING': Mayor slams delays in flood funding

A NORTHERN Rivers mayor has criticised the federal and state governments for long delays caused by red tape to get disaster funding more than two years after the 2017 floods.

Lismore City Council mayor Isaac Smith took to social media to vent his frustration about how residents in Jiggi valley are still impacted by the 2019 flood caused by Ex-Cyclone Debbie.

 

"The federal government prevents NSW councils doing their own disaster relief," he said.

"So it prolongs the process as we have to do tenders...we put our first claim to them in April 2017 and the fact this has taken since then to get a response is disgusting."

This outburst came after Cr Smith and three council staff attended a meeting last week at Jiggi Hall to meet with the community on the issue.

"The disaster relief system set up by the Federal and State government needs a major overhaul when people are still stuck with these major issues more than two years later.

"It is not safe to have diversions in place and work left for so long, forcing school buses and our vital local agricultural producers to take risks and pay more to keep their business running."

Under the joint Federal and NSW Government disaster arrangements, councils employ contractors to undertake disaster repairs rather than using their own staff.

The NSW Government decided on this to ensure councils continue to focus resources on their regular work. 

Cr Smith said he appreciated being given an insight into issue by locals.

"I had a really good tour around the Jiggi valley so I could see first hand the difficulty they have faced since the flood," he said.

Jiggi resident Murray Ings drove Cr Smith to view the roads and said he appreciated the mayor taking the time to visit.

"This morning I got two hours with Isaac Smith and covered all the roads, it really opened his eyes on how bad they are out here," he said.

"We are lucky he came out here without council knowing, I think there's a lack of communication between council and the mayor as to what's going on here."

Mr Ings said residents are in real danger of being trapped if a bushfire comes through the area.

"When we come out onto Lodge Rd I showed him the trouble trucks have getting up, it's nightmare even getting trucks up here to fix the roads," he said.

Cr Smith agreed he was appalled by the dangerous condition of some of the roads.

"I went over Davis Rd, Lodge Rd, Smith Rd, Whitney Rd, Mountain Top Rd, McLennan Rd, Gwynne Rd and Oakey Creek Rd," he said.

"I also had a good look at the Jiggi RFS station and the Jiggi School."

Cr Smith said when he visits Canberra next week for a series of meetings he will impress upon several with government ministers how critical the situation is and what needs to be done.

"I will speak to them about improvements so any community suffering from a disaster is not left stranded in future," he said.

Member for Lismore, Janelle Saffin, said has driven on those roads and agreed changes to how disaster relied needed to be made.

"I am well aware of this issue,: she said.

I am in favour of councils being able to do their won disaster relief and I driving to have this legislation changed."

Federal member for Page Kevin Hogan has been contacted for comment.