Levee bank ‘red tape' skyrocketing insurance rates

How the upgraded levee would protect central Wagga.

How the upgraded levee would protect central Wagga.

WAGGA’S leading think-tank has unleashed a scathing tirade against the “red tape and excessive bureaucracy” stalling vital levee bank upgrades.

North Wagga residents are experiencing a surge in insurance premiums as the threat of catastrophic flooding looms closer. 

Projections estimate floods would inundate up to 2600 homes, 1100 business and displace 7000 people, if another flooding event breached the existing levee. 

Committee 4 Wagga (C4W) claims the infrastructure’s development has been brought to a halt by unnecessary delays.

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Jason Dunn, who spent two years rebuilding his North Wagga property after it was ravaged by 2012 floods, fears council’s “complacency” could spell disaster. 

He claims his insurance has increased fourfold since the floods. 

“So many lives were devastated and so many people were left with nothing,” he said,

“Even five years down the track it’s still affecting us – I’m paying about $3000 more than I used to.

“This has been going on for so many years and yet it feels like we’ve made little progress.”

Following severe flooding in Roma in 2012, insurance companies refused to offer new policies because the town was rendered uninsurable. 

The town’s levee bank was promptly upgraded – just one year later – and premiums dropped between 45 and 90 per cent. 

C4W chair Judy Galloway believes distractions are also delaying the vital upgrades.

“There's been a lot of distraction going on at council and some significant staff turnover, so that may have something to do with it,” she said. 

Mayor Greg Conkey said he hoped the entire project would be completed within three years.

“I understand the concerns of the community about how long it’s taken but we have been reliant on government funding and so now we’ve achieved that hopefully it will progress in a timely manner,” Councillor Conkey said.

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