Helping homeowners in Port Stephens rebuild after natural disasters Port Stephens by News Of The Area - Modern Media - July 8, 2021 A NEW planning provision will provide lower Hunter Councils with the flexibility they need to make it easier for homeowners to rebuild or repair their homes after a natural disaster. Parliamentary Secretary for the Hunter Taylor Martin said Cessnock, Lake Macquarie, Maitland Newcastle and Port Stephens Councils have all adopted the Natural Disasters Clause to support homeowners dealing with the aftermath of a flood or fire. Advertise with News of The Area today. It’s worth it for your business. Message us. Phone us – (02) 4981 8882. Email us – [email protected] “This new clause will allow councils to approve appropriate applications to repair or rebuild homes even if planning rules have changed since their home was originally built,” Mr Martin said. “This new provision makes it a little bit easier for homeowners to get back on their feet after losing their home by getting rid of the barriers to rebuilding and help them save time and money.” Minister for Planning and Public Spaces Rob Stokes said at the moment, councils have to apply all current rules to any application to rebuild or repair homes after a natural disaster. “Planning rules change over time as new technologies emerge and as community expectations change. “This clause will let people rebuild homes approved under different rules in the past, so long as they meet safety and design standards.” Minister for Police and Emergency Services David Elliott said the new measure was prompted by the aftermath of devastating floods and horrific bushfires in recent years. “Losing your home is one of the most heartbreaking experiences and although we can’t bring back homes or memories, we can make it a little bit easier by getting rid of the barriers to rebuilding, repairing and recovering,” Mr Elliott said. “We’ve seen countless families across our State lose everything and we want to do all we can to help them get back on their feet. “This new clause will help affected homeowners get back on their feet and save time and money.” Under the new clause, homeowners will no longer have to include formal requests to change development standards as part of their application, where planning rules have changed over time.