Port Stephens LGA finally declared a Natural Disaster

1. West Ward Councillor Giacomo Arnott with Member for Port Stephens, Kate Washington overlooking a flooded road in Raymond Terrace.

PORT Stephens has finally been declared a Natural Disaster Zone.

Following the campaigning of Member for Port Stephens, Kate Washington MP to Premier Dominic Perrottet, the Local Government Area has finally been declared a Natural Disaster Zone in relation to the immense flooding in the region.

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The decision to extend the Commonwealth-State disaster assistance to the area followed the announcement of seven other LGAs including Cumberland, MidCoast, Muswellbrook, Nambucca, Newcastle, Randwick and Warren.

The total number of disaster-declared LGAs for the weather for the NSW floods which started on 27 June 2022 is now 37.

Federal Minister for Emergency Management, Senator the Hon Murray Watt, said the severe weather and flooding continues to impact many areas of New South Wales with flood evacuation orders still in place.

“I’ve been out in impacted areas this week and it’s clear this is a widespread event, which is going to take some time to recover from,” Minister Watt said.

“As the damage continues to be assessed, the New South Wales and Australian governments are working to quickly and efficiently provide access to financial and other assistance.”

Although relieved with the decision to extend the financial support to the region, Kate Washington is not impressed that the region was not initially declared a Disaster Zone.

“How could one side of the flooded Hunter River be a natural disaster area, and the other not be initially?

“It was entirely illogical.

“I’ve spoken to farmers and residents who have described this as the worst flood they have seen in decades,” Ms Washington said.

Ms Washington also said that she knows of many residents having to stay in local motels who were unable to access the disaster payments.

“Residents in Hinton and Nelsons Plains are flooded in, properties in Seaham and Raymond Terrace are heavily impacted, but Port Stephens had not been added to the list.”

Following the Premier’s announcement, Port Stephens residents will now be eligible for the Commonwealth-State Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements.

These include:
● Help for eligible people whose homes or belongings have been damaged (eligibility criteria apply);
● Support for affected local councils to help with the costs of cleaning up and restoring damaged essential roads and public assets;
● Concessional interest rate loans for small businesses, primary producers and non-profit organisations, and
● Freight subsidies for primary producers.

The Australian Government’s Disaster Recovery Payment of $1,000 per adult and $400 per child is administered by the Commonwealth and is separate to the Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements.

For information on personal hardship and distress assistance, contact Service NSW on 13 77 88.

To apply for a concessional loan, contact the NSW Rural Assistance Authority on 1800 678 593 or visit www.raa.nsw.gov.au.

Information on disaster assistance can be found on the National Recovery and Resilience Agency’s website at www.recovery.gov.au.


Hexham Bridge, Pacific Highway, Tomago flooded.

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