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Central West to get share of $9.1 million in flood relief; MP Gee says it'll be "spread pretty thin"

July 25, 2023

Front row L-R: Cabonne mayor Kevin Beattie, state MP Phil Donato and state minister Kate Washington in Molong. Supplied.

By Peter Holmes

Four flood-hit districts in NSW will share in a $9.1 million grant program funded by state and federal Labor “for community organisations and non-government organisations as they help flood-affected regions on their road to recovery".

State MP Phil Donato thanked Kate Washington, the state minister for families and communities, for visiting Molong to make the announcement on Tuesday. Molong and Eugowra were among the hardest hit in the late-2022 floods.

“Many months after the floodwaters have receded, there’s ongoing need for support in our flood-ravaged communities, much of which is being delivered through NGOs and volunteer-run community organisations,” he said.

Donato said the grants would provide a range of support, including staffing costs to meet increased demand for help, operational costs and funding to help people remain safe during recovery.

Andrew Gee (right) talking with Eugowra locals in December 2022 about rebuilding. Supplied.

The $9.1 million will be shared between the Western, Murrumbidgee, Far West and New England districts.

Community and volunteer-based non-government organisations will receive $6.5 million; $1.5 million will be allocated for administration and local support, including on-the-ground flood support officers deployed to support grant recipients; and $1.1 million will be available for applications from current NSW Department of Communities and Justice service providers.

Federal MP Andrew Gee said he wasn’t invited to the announcement in Molong.

He said that had he been on the guest list he “would have asked the state government when the same assistance measures … that have been announced for the Northern Rivers area of NSW [will] be announced for our region?”

“There is a fundamental injustice and inequality going on here with respect to storm and flood assistance provided by the state and federal governments,” Gee said. “The NSW government can activate this assistance immediately.”

He said the funding was a “positive development”, but that the money "will be spread pretty thin”.

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