General News

Flood Inquiry Welcomed- but Government will Ignore all the Inconvenient Findings.

“The announcement by the NSW Government of an Independent Inquiry into the north coast floods is welcome, but we have no confidence that it will act on the findings. Had they acted on the Bushfire Inquiry, some aspects of this disaster would have been mitigated. Particularly regarding regional communications,” said North Coast Environment Council (NCEC) Vice-President, Susie Russell.


“It shouldn’t need much investigation to reveal that the catastrophic north coast floods resulted from the compounding influences of: decades of logging and clearing in the upper catchment and along the gullies, creeks and rivers; rising greenhouse emissions leading to rising global temperatures, particularly ocean temperatures and thus massive evaporation leading to the ‘rain bomb’ event; and the failure of engineering solutions.


“What is happening in the Northern Rivers is an environmental catastrophe on so many levels. The scouring of the gullies, creeks and rivers means that the next intense rainfall will travel downstream faster as there is nothing to slow the water, and little chance of stablisation of those waterways in the near future.


“Without a widespread well funded Total Catchment Management plan that stops the ongoing destruction and begins a serious program of catchment repair, this disaster will be repeated all too soon,” Ms Russell predicted.


“This doesn’t just apply to the Richmond Catchment, it is every catchment. They are all in desperate need of repair. The destruction of the native vegetation, particularly the forests, that hold the land together and hold and slow the water, has to stop,” she said.


“Another environmental catastrophe has been the dumping of tens of thousands of materials that were salvageable. Hardwood furniture, numerous tools, appliances and machines, that with a clean would have been perfectly serviceable, have been sent to landfill.


“Houses made from oldgrowth trees, the like of which we will never see again, have been condemned. Many could be repaired or the timbers recycled if they were taken apart rather than wrecked. The mentality of chucking everything ‘away’ and getting new stuff, highlights our consumption culture that is driving climate change.


“This event is a major wake-up call. Unless the lessons are clearly articulated, heeded and implemented with a massive injection of funds, this event will be just another one in a string of disasters that will see the natural environment we all depend on further degraded, and more and more people living in poverty. Is there a government courageous enough to tackle the root causes?


The evidence to date suggests not,” she said.