Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet just took a few questions after their announcement and both reiterated their support for rebuilding communities in central-west NSW after flooding.
Albanese said NSW should build back “appropriately” in flood zones and said the government would “continue to engage with” the insurance industry after residents told the touring leaders one of their biggest challenges was an inability to insure their properties against floods.
Here are some of the relevant exchanges, edited for length and clarity:
Reporter: “When announcing a buyback scheme in other parts of NSW, you said we should not be rebuilding on floodplains, but here today you’re saying this community will rebuild. Which one is it? Should we be building or not?”
Albanese: “Well, we should be building appropriately … in Lismore, the premier and I joined together to support some buybacks in communities that were impacted regularly and consistently. What we need to do is to make sure that we do get planning right, there’s no inconsistency here.”
Reporter: ”A lot of people can’t rebuild because they can’t get insurance cover. How are you dealing with that?”
Albanese: “Look, this is a challenge; the issue of insurance, and I know that Murray Watt, our emergency services minister, is talking to insurance companies about these issues. This is an ongoing challenge that we have to deal with. One of the things that we heard again today about is that so many people haven’t been able to get insurance because of the high premiums, which are there. It’s something that the government is trying to deal with over a period of time. We’ll continue to engage with the insurance industry.”
Perrotte also said: “Communities like Eugowra are just as at risk of flooding as many across the state. As the prime minister said, in Lismore, in places like that, we’ve embarked on a buyback scheme, but we’ve tailored our responses to those circumstances.
“But where there is high risk, we shouldn’t be developing on those floodplains where there is high risk, but it needs to be done in a balanced way.”