Newcastle estate agent slams government over flood aid delay

Newcastle estate agent Bill Quirk says it’s ridiculous that the LGA hasn’t been named in the list of areas eligible for flood recovery aid earlier.

After the area suffered another flood this week, the longtime permit holder thinks it’s time for property owners along the Hunter River to be recognized for the ever-increasing challenges they face.

Mr Quirk has worked and taught in the Newcastle property sector since 1961.

On Wednesday July 6, frustrated by reports that the former steel town had been omitted from the list of local government areas (LGAs) eligible for disaster recovery funding from the NSW Government, Mr Quirk asked assistance from the Real Estate Institute of NSW.

His appeal to the state’s leading industry body for estate agents and property professionals was to push for Newcastle landlords to be included on the LGA’s eligibility lists, updating their flood insurance.

“The question arises, with the ever-increasing flood waters in and around Newcastle, why was Newcastle not immediately included in this natural disaster funding for flooding as an eligible LGA? ” he said the Newcastle Weekly.

“The Hunter River and all of its estuaries have a recorded history of over 250 years of major flooding.

“With its increasing population growth and the spread of residential subdivisions over the past 20 or so years, this is a local council approved disaster waiting to happen.”

Bill Quirk.

Mr Quirk says local owners deserved better.

“Standards for flood control plans may no longer be adequate or reflect the known flood condition in our area,” he says.

Over the past few days, Mr. Quirk says he has spoken to homeowners in Hamilton and Wallsend whose homes were inundated by floodwaters, but their home insurance did not recognize that they were in an “area impact”.

Disaster funding was approved for a number of LGAs this week, following severe storms and flooding across much of New South Wales.

The assistance available includes a disaster recovery payment, a disaster recovery allowance, and housing and rental assistance.

The payment is a lump sum of $1,000 per eligible adult, $400 per eligible child.

To be eligible, residents must live in one of the listed LGAs and have been significantly affected by flooding.

A disaster recovery allowance also on offer includes short-term income for those unable to work as a result of the flooding, with $350 per week for up to 13 weeks made available to eligible residents.

Other eligible LGAs included Blacktown, Blue Mountains, Camden, Canterbury Bankstown, Campbelltown, Central Coast, Fairfield, Georges River, Hawkesbury, Hornsby, Kiama, Lithgow, Northern Beaches, Penrith, Shellharbour, Shoalhaven, Sutherland, The Hills, Wingecarribee, Wollondilly and Wollongong.

On Thursday July 7, the list was updated to include Bayside, Dungog, Lake Macquarie, Maitland, Singleton and Upper Lachlan.

Then, after NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet visited the Hunter 24 hours later, Newcastle, Port Stephens and Muswellbrook were late inclusions.

“This is great news, but it shouldn’t have taken this long,” says Mr Quirk.

“We will continue to fight to make our voices heard.”

Mr Quirk also asks if the owners have any vacant property which they think might be suitable as temporary accommodation for displaced flood victims and which they would like to help, to contact him at Borrelli Quirk Newcastle Real Estate.

About Wanda G. Warren

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