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LGA calls for increased flood relief funding

The LGA has asked the State Government to provide increased relief funding to councils and South Australian residents affected by the recent extreme weather and associated flooding.

LGA President Mayor Dave Burgess said this would include opening up access to funding previously collected through the Solid Waste Levy and Emergency Services Levy.

“The economic, social and environmental costs of this once in generation storm event will be significant, and for many communities the recovery will be prolonged and expensive,” Mayor Burgess said.

“While much of the damage bill may be recovered through disaster recovery programs and insurance, there is more that can be done to assist communities to repair and rebuild.

“The removal and clearance of fallen trees, repair of damaged roads, disposal of storm and flood debris and rehabilitation of the landscape are immediate priorities, and in some areas there will be public health concerns which councils will need to address.

“The LGA’s position is that the $85 million that has accumulated through the Waste Levy should be spent on waste and recycling initiatives.

“However, proposed changes to the Zero Waste Act 2004 currently before Parliament would allow funds collected through this Levy to be used for managing waste and environmental harm after a disaster.

“Before the Parliament considers these changes, we are calling on the Government to commit to making funding available to councils for appropriate clean-up activities.

“We’ve also asked that councils are provided with an exemption from the Levy when disposing of waste created as a result of the recent storms.

“The Emergency Services Levy is another potential source of support for our communities which we’ve raised with the Government.”

Mayor Burgess also said the LGA was also seeking a review of the conditions around the $700 grants available to residents whose properties were damaged in the storms.

“Burnside Council recently expressed concerns that this funding is only available to property owners who have experienced damage to their homes, and not their driveways, exterior buildings and other outside areas,” Mayor Burgess said.

“We’ve asked the Government to consider broadening this grant to include the many South Australians who are now facing significant clean-up costs in their own backyards.”

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