As the time between the floods and the future widens and number of people who are still homeless or struggling to keep their home, does not diminish, the community’s faith in the Northern Rivers Reconstruction Corporation (NRRC) grows weaker and people want answers.
With a focus on getting some of those answers, flood survivors and concerned community members from around the Northern Rivers will gather on Friday the new NRRC Pop-Up Homeowner office in Lismore to once again share their practical visions and air their increasing frustrations with the ‘disaster corp’.
Reclaim Our Recovery
The gathering is organised by volunteer community advocacy group Reclaim Our Recovery (ROR).
A spokesperson for ROR, Sally Newham, says the group will gather to bring their concerns, questions and aspirations of the community to the agency tasked with the recovery. ‘The NRRC is currently inviting submissions to the Resilient Lands Strategy, while at the same time releasing bewildering maps and information about the Resilient Homes program that has left many feeling despair and betrayal.
‘Friday’s gathering is an opportunity to raise our voices together to demand better for this traumatised community.’
Newham says the event will open with an acknowledgement of Country, followed by an open mic process. ‘ROR will provide a table and materials for people to work on hard-copy submissions to the Lands Strategy consultation and other on-the-spot contributions. These along with already gathered feedback will be delivered to the NRRC in person.
A more sincere effort of consultation than NRRC
‘The aim of the meeting is to show that the community have engaged in a more sincere effort of consultation than the Corp itself when it comes to both the Homes and Lands programs.
‘ROR will be bringing extensive feedback regarding community needs and aspirations, gathered from the grassroots over months. The ongoing lack of transparency and accountability is an indictment on the Corporation that brings its social license into question.’
Newham says that ROR believe the silo-ing off of the two programs from each other is the wrong approach if the Corporation is serious about protecting lives and property into the future. ‘On Friday we want to make clear the links between the Homes and Lands programs, and to join the dots between housing justice, recovery justice and climate justice.
Lack of transparency
‘ROR believes that the lack of transparency from the Corporation, perhaps intended to shield the community from disappointment or dissension, has failed. This policy of secrecy and obfuscation has served to create confusion, distrust and despair in an already traumatised community.’
ROR is particularly concerned that the processes of the NRRC have divided the community and that neither the Homes nor Lands programs have addressed the needs of the significant renter population on the floodplain. According to Census data, renters made up about a third of the South Lismore community, and about a quarter of the North Lismore community prior to the disaster. What happened to the early promises of no one being left behind in our recovery?
ROR encourages all renters and those concerned about the housing crisis in the NR to make submissions and join the gathering. Reclaiming Our Recovery focuses on the fact that the Great Flood has affected everyone in our diverse community, and that all should have the opportunity to be involved and included in the recovery and transformation that is needed.
ROR will meet on Friday 30 June at 4pm outside the new NRRC Pop-Up Homeowner office at 14 Carrington Street, Lismore.
Other NRRC Pop-Ups can be found at: Service NSW, Ballina Homemaker Centre, 26 Boeing Street, Ballina; Kyogle Council Chambers, 1 Stratheden Street, Kyogle; Byron Shire Council offices, 70-90 Stations Street, Mullumbimby, and; Shop 7, 41-45 Murwillumbah Street, Murwillumbah.
More information on days, times and appointments can be found on the NRRC Facebook page.