29 March 2022

Eurobodalla Shire smashed with repair work after multiple natural disasters

| Aiden Rothnie
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Repair works around Eurobodalla shire are underway following the recent NSW floods. Photo: Supplied.

Over the past 28 months, Eurobodalla Shire has been struck by 10 separate natural disasters.

Since the 2019/20 Black Summer bushfires the Shire has also dealt with 10 floods of varying severity, wreaking havoc on its community and infrastructure.

Eurobodalla Shire Mayor Mathew Hatcher said the repeat disasters have impacted the entire community.

“People on the outskirts of towns have had it worst but it’s really affected everyone,” he said.

“We’ve been in crisis mode, we’ve just had to act immediately, there hasn’t really been an option for us to take a step back and evaluate.

“Every time we’ve started to recover from one disaster something else has come along and we’ve had to go deal with that instead.”

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When Covid hit Eurobodalla Shire much of the aid and re-construction work underway had to be stopped, Cr Hatcher added.

“Covid threw a curveball at a lot of our efforts,” he said. “It just wasn’t safe to have so many people on the ground and working on these things.

“There has been a lack of mental health support following these disasters and there really hasn’t been much we could do about it.”

The Eurobodalla transport network has also been put under immense strain due to the constant natural disasters, with roads and bridges being flooded, damaged or destroyed in some cases.

Eurobodalla Council’s community works manager Tony Swallow said the incessant disasters have led to increased stress on Eurobodalla’s infrastructure.

“Bushfires, floods and a 30 per cent increase in traffic on some of our roads in the past five years has added significant strain to our transport network,” Mr Swallow said.

The council is investigating the smartest ways to rebuild infrastructure with longevity in mind.

“We don’t want to have the same issue next time a disaster arrives,” Cr Hatcher said. “We had 40 wood bridges that were completely destroyed at one point, most have been rebuilt from concrete now.”

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The extent of damage done by recent floods ranges from numerous potholes in the road to larger-scale removal and replacement efforts.

“Some repairs will be temporary and will need repeat attention until we have the time and gear for a permanent fix,” Mr Swallow said.

“They are working as fast as they can, but this isn’t limited to Eurobodalla – there’s significant damage all over the eastern seaboard in the areas that experienced extended heavy rain.”

Eurobodalla Council has asked for additional funding from the government for the continued repair of its damaged infrastructure and to become more resilient to future disasters.

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