NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet says there is “a lot of anger and frustration” aimed at the government as a result of the current floods crisis.
Some communities in the state’s north have been cut off for more than a week, with locals forced to source their own supplies and perform their own rescues.
“There’s lot of anger and frustration. We’ve had many communities up here in isolation and have felt abandoned,” the premier told Today.
“We’re doing everything we can. We’ve set up 17 evacuation centres and we’re going to be working day and night for weeks and months and years ahead.
“It’s going to be a massive, massive job ahead of us. But we’ll get through it and we’ll get all these communities in the Northern Rivers not just back on their feet but we’re going to build them back better than before,” he added.
Asked by Today host Karl Stefanovic on how he could have responded “better” to the crisis, Mr Perrottet said it was hard to assess in the initial stages.
“We’ve heard the word ‘unprecedented’, but what has occurred here is, you know, a one-in-1000-year event,” Mr Perrottet said.
He said he was “very sorry” if people felt let down by the government’s response, but pledged that the government and emergency services would continue to work to support people during the recovery phase.
“We’re getting supplies in. We’re getting food in. Some of those areas will look back at this and say it could have been done better but we are where we are right now and we’re doing absolutely everything we can to provide care and support for those who need it to get those essential supplies in,” the premier said.
In the Northern Rivers region, of the 3000 homes that have been surveyed since the floods hit, 2000 have been deemed uninhabitable.
NSW SES Deputy Commissioner Daniel Austin said those areas could still expect further floods and rain.
“Certainly there will be a sense of frustration in regards to that. But we’re working on safety first obviously,” he said.
“We were really impressed with the way the community reacted to our warnings late last week.”