Lismore residents are calling for the flood survey report to be released

“If you’re just talking about the size and scope of Lismore LGA, no community anywhere can afford to fund it even partially,” Krieg said.

Privately owned blocks of land have been identified on the outskirts of Lismore that could be used to permanently house flood-affected residents, Krieg said.

Steve Krieg on the streets of Lismore in the days after the flood.

Steve Krieg on the streets of Lismore in the days after the flood.Recognition:Elise Durwin

“There are people who have been sitting on suitable land for a long time and say that now is an opportunity to open it,” Krieg said.

The council said in May about 1,000 homes outside the floodplain would need to be rebuilt at a cost of $400 million.

According to Resilient Lismore, a grassroots group helping to rebuild, the challenge with any buyback or land swap program is meeting demand.

“A lot of people are ready to go,” Lismore coordinator and councilor Elly Bird said. “They are just waiting to see what the government will deliver before deciding what to do.

“We know Queensland has moved very quickly with a program around buybacks and land swaps and here we are still waiting.

“We would like to see that [independent inquiry] Report. This is our report, our submissions that we submitted and we want to see the results.”

War also urged the government to release the report in full, saying his community needed reassurance after five months in limbo.

“People have held back from making big decisions about their homes and their businesses, waiting for this report.”


Labor State MP Janelle Saffin said purchase prices in a buyback program must be based on pre-flood property appraisals, an opinion shared by local residents.

Schofield said many of the flood-affected parts of Lismore are areas of low socioeconomic status, and any buyback or land swap program must ensure people have enough money to pay off their debts and start fresh.

“If you still have to pay your bank [exit] Clause in the mortgage to buy and build a piece of land, that will be out of reach for I would say 90 per cent of the people of North and South Lismore.”

She is again living in two rooms of her house but with no walls, and said she and her neighbors were frustrated as they waited for details of what help was to come.


“A week that you live like this is a very long time. It’s incredibly stressful. A lot of people are very concerned about their future.”

She would love to take part in a property exchange and move with her.

“Many of us have beautiful old houses that were built 120 years ago and some of them are still in very good condition. And the community doesn’t necessarily want to separate from each other.

“If we had a wand, I think a large percentage would stay where we are now, just out of the tide.”

The Morning Edition Newsletter is our guide to the day’s most important and interesting stories, analysis and insights. Sign up here. Lismore residents are calling for the flood survey report to be released

Joel McCord

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