Member for Kiama Gareth Ward has called for urgent flood relief following the inundation of the southern Illawarra and the Shoalhaven at the weekend.

Mr Ward has called on the Minns Government to immediately declare Shellharbour City, Kiama Municipality and Shoalhaven City as designated disaster areas. He’s also called on local councils to provide free access to waste disposal depots and insurance companies to pay up quickly. 

“We need a natural disaster declaration, and we need it today,” Mr Ward said.

“These floods have severely impacted my local residents, primary producers and businesses. These impacts will be felt for months, if not years.

“I’m calling on local councils to follow the lead of Wollongong and Shellharbour and allow free access to local tips to dump property impacted by storm damage.

“I’ve spoken to several local farmers that are also counting the cost of these floods and I’m calling on the NSW Government to reinstitute the Special Disaster Grant, Rural Landowner Grant and Critical Producer Grant which was available through the Rural Assistance Authority following the 2022 storm events.

“I’m also asking businesses to be patient with employees who may have been impacted by storms and ensure they can take leave to repair damage, or in some cases, relocate their homes entirely.

“Insurance companies need to come to the party, honour your policies and pay out on claims quickly so that people can get on with their lives. Anyone who feels that their insurance company is not honouring your policy should feel free to contact me.

“My sincere thanks to the SES and hundreds of local volunteers who have done an outstanding job. Given that we’ve seen people continue to drive through flood waters, putting at risk volunteer rescuers and drivers, I will consider introducing a private members bill to make this activity an offence when Parliament resumes in May,” Mr Ward concluded.