The ICA (International Cooperative Alliance) welcomes the 'historic' buybacks offer

The Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) has expressed its appreciation for the offer made by the Northern Rivers Reconstruction Corporation (NRRC) to repurchase over 1000 homes in Northern NSW that are at high risk of flooding.

As part of the $700 million joint federal-state government Resilient Homes Program, the Northern Rivers Reconstruction Corporation (NRRC) has announced that it will offer buybacks for approximately 1100 properties in flood-affected communities. These buybacks will prioritize the properties that are most vulnerable to flooding.

According to ICA CEO Andrew Hall, the buybacks signify a crucial juncture for the communities in Northern Rivers. Following the unprecedented flood event in February/March last year, residents in the area have received over $920 million in insurance claims.

Mr. Hall expressed that the announcement marks a significant milestone for the Northern Rivers region, as it demonstrates a genuine commitment to enhancing community resilience. He believes that this initiative will have a tangible impact in safeguarding homeowners who face the risks associated with flooding.

Effectively managing and mitigating risks in communities with high vulnerability to flooding is of utmost importance. It necessitates making difficult and courageous choices to permanently relocate individuals out of harm’s reach and prioritize increased investment in fortifying resilience throughout communities.

However, Mr. Hall emphasizes that the buybacks should serve as a valuable lesson and establish a fresh precedent for government responses to catastrophic events.

Additionally, the ICA urged governments to reconsider land use planning for communities, particularly in light of the escalating risks posed by natural disasters.

The ICA stated that due to past inadequate planning decisions, permanently relocating people away from potential harm will continue to be an essential strategy for governments to prioritize.

As the NRRC unveils new flood mapping data for Northern Rivers communities, which delineates risk profiles and underscores threat levels in specific areas, the corporation has made its decision regarding buybacks.

NRRC CEO David Witherdin has described the findings as the most comprehensive flood mapping and analysis currently accessible. These results are being utilized to determine eligibility criteria and prioritize participants for the buyback program.

Mr. Witherdin stated that the NRRC collaborated with flood experts to develop the flood mapping, incorporating the latest data from councils, NSW SES, and other reliable sources.

According to Mr. Witherdin, the recently unveiled flood mapping and analysis offers the most comprehensive and detailed information available for the region. It effectively evaluates the relative risk to life in each neighborhood, allowing for a prioritized approach to subsequent home buyback, raising, and retrofitting initiatives.

While acknowledging that the figure of 1100 homes fell short of the total number of homes at risk, Mr. Witherdin acknowledged the need for additional efforts to address the remaining properties facing potential risks.

He expressed his hope to secure funding for approximately 500 additional buybacks to address the remaining properties facing the risk of flooding.

According to Mr. Witherdin, the selection process for the program focused on prioritizing individuals who face the highest risk to their lives during most floods and are most susceptible to being submerged by fast and high floodwaters.

The NRRC has already dispatched approximately 300 purchase offers to homeowners, and since the initial proposals were sent in February, 130 homeowners have accepted the offers.

Mr. Witherdin announced that the NRRC plans to extend 800 additional buyback offers within the next two weeks. The corporation is committed to keeping homeowners informed about these offers and aims to complete the notification process by mid-year as scheduled.



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By Ryan

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