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Northern Rivers Resilience Initiative

Supporting the Northern Rivers region of New South Wales

The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) is supporting the Northern Rivers region of New South Wales to drive long-term resilience by delivering priority community supported projects that mitigate the impact of disasters on communities and economies in the region, and ensure that they are in a better position to recover from future disasters.

Understanding the vulnerability of the Northern Rivers region to the impacts of severe weather, and following the devastation of the February-March 2022 floods, the Government is committed to understanding the risk factors and broader influences on the region. 

That is why $11.4 million has been committed to the Northern Rivers Resilience Initiative, being undertaken by the National Emergency Management Agency and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), to understand climate, catchment, and hydrological drivers within the region and how these drivers impact flooding.

This work is occurring in close collaboration with the NSW Government.  The Northern Rivers Resilience Initiative is being delivered in two phases.

Phase 1 assessed and prioritised community supported options for flood mitigation projects. 

Phase 2 is a larger project to collect suitable data and construct a whole-of-catchment model for the Richmond River and test different flood mitigation scenarios.  Find out more about the work being undertaken by CSIRO.

This will inform longer-term flood mitigation measures, and is expected to be completed by mid 2025.

Phase 1 Report - Rapid Prioritisation for Flood Resilience in the Northern Rivers region

CSIRO worked closely with Alluvium Consulting (an environmental consultancy), their local staff, and our local Coordination Planning Officers to conduct a rapid review and assessment of flood mitigation options.

Meetings and workshops were held with local councils, community groups and other key stakeholders in the seven Northern Rivers Local Government Areas to identify and prioritise existing projects that were considered an important first step towards improving the region’s flood resilience. 

As part of the community consultation, more than 400 people attended at least one of the 15 community engagement sessions, and 345 surveys were completed.

The projects put forward by CSIRO in its Phase 1 report informed Australian Government’s commitment of $150 million under the 2022-23 Emergency Response Fund to deliver the Northern Rivers Recovery and Resilience Program.