Austin Curtin, the NSW Nationals candidate for Lismore, is already proving himself as a positive force in the community.
Communities across northern NSW were hit by devastating floodwaters last year as a result of Cyclone Debbie, which dumped more than 600mm of rain in just 24 hours and left massive clean-up bills in its wake.
In Lismore, Leycester Creek and Wilsons River swelled from the deluge rushing down from the mountains. While the city had a 10.6 metre levee, the flood water surged over the bank and ripped through residential and business areas.
With memories of the flooding still fresh in the minds of people living in the Tweed and Richmond Valleys, Austin Curtin decided to start a grassroots campaign calling on Lismore City Council and the Government to carry out flood protection works.
Businesses and homes were impacted by the flooding and Austin said people needed to be confident that they wouldn’t be washed away.
“We can remove a high point in the land and allow water from Leycester Creek to flow through the natural floodplain channel,” he said. “It’s not flood proofing but it’s a good start.”
Lismore wasn’t the only community hit by the flooding; Murwillumbah, along with the rest of the Tweed and Richmond valleys were also devastated. But there was a reason Austin was focused on Lismore.
“Tweed Shire Council, in conjunction with the NSW Government, is already taking flood prevention measures, but Lismore needs some help to help itself,” he said. “This might be the tipping point that helps Lismore become more prosperous and encourages investment in the city.”