Major transport impacts amid NSW flood clean up

Georgina Noack, Keira Jenkins
The Nightly
3 Min Read
Megalong Rd in the Blue Mountains is among the many roads still closed due to flood-related damage. (HANDOUT/MEGALONG CREEK ESTATE)
Megalong Rd in the Blue Mountains is among the many roads still closed due to flood-related damage. (HANDOUT/MEGALONG CREEK ESTATE) Credit: AAP

Residents across NSW will have access to disaster assistance payments after the wild rain and flooding event that inundated the State over the weekend.

The State and Federal governments declared areas of natural disaster over the weekend, triggering an “automatic release of money” for councils to clean-up and repair essential infrastructure through the Commonwealth-State Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements.

Acting federal minister for Emergency Management Catherine King said the rapid and widespread damage caused by the floods demanded an equally fast and comprehensive recovery response.

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“It’s important that we act quickly to activate disaster support so affected communities can begin their clean-up and recovery,” Ms Kind said.

“The NSW Government is continuing to assess the damage and fully understand the impact of this disaster, and the Australian Government stands ready to respond to any requests for assistance.”

Disaster assistance for the floods will be available to residents in the Blue Mountains, Camden, Hawkesbury, Kiama, Liverpool, Penrith, Shellharbour, Shoalhaven, Sutherland, Upper Lachlan, Wingecarribee, Wollondilly and Wollongong local government areas.

The announcement comes as residents in Sydney’s northwest have been allowed to return home as the rain and flooding threat across Greater Sydney and NSW eases.

The Hawkesbury River peaked at the major level late on Saturday evening and at the moderate level at Windsor on Sunday.

Residents in parts of Windsor, Richmond, Sackville, and Pitt Town are among regions along the river given a cautionary all-clear to return home at about 10 pm on Sunday.

As water levels began to recede, about 800 people in the northwest Sydney region were still impacted by evacuation warnings.

NSW State Emergency Service Assistant Commissioner Dean Storey said it was likely these evacuation warnings would be in place over the next few days.

But he said it was a “priority” for people to return home and for crews to assist with damage assessments “as soon as it is safe to do so”.

As of Sunday evening, the SES had fielded about 4900 calls for help since the floods began — 1877 of those were fielded in the 24 hours to Sunday morning, including 146 flood rescues.

Between 4000 and 5000 volunteers and emergency service agencies had worked over the weekend responding to hazards, setting up evacuation centres, and keeping communities informed.

Southwards, in the Illawarra region, 57 properties have been damaged in the weather event, 28 inundated with flood water and 14 deemed non-habitable.

The Bureau of Meteorology said the worst of the weather has passed, with no thunderstorms forecast for Monday.

Residents have been warned the impacts of the weekend’s record-breaking rain could still present danger in the region, with damage to roads and train lines.

The Hawkesbury River was expected to remain above the moderate flood level at North Richmond until Monday morning, and at Windsor until Monday afternoon.

Parts of the South Coast train line have been closed due to damage from the weekend’s flooding.

“The safety of our people and passengers is always our first priority and our engineers and work crews are mobilised across the rail network to assess and repair the damage,” Sydney Trains chief executive Matt Longland said.

Some communities are also impacted by road closures, with Bells Line of Rd and Megalong Rd in the Blue Mountains among those shut due to flooding and damage.

The State Emergency Service had fielded about 4900 calls for help since the floods began as of Sunday evening.

— with AAP

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