Phyllis Billin (13), of North Lismore, with Aaron Albario (16) cleans out the underneath of her house after floodwaters receded.
Phyllis Billin (13), of North Lismore, with Aaron Albario (16) cleans out the underneath of her house after floodwaters receded. Marc Stapelberg

Costs across Northern Rivers rise as mess piles up

DAMAGE assessments continued across the Northern Rivers yesterday as council staff and residents began the arduous clean-up.

Lismore City, Richmond Valley and Ballina councils have all put a loose estimate of $500,000 on the bill.

The Commonwealth Bank has already put the total cost of floods across Queensland and northern New South Wales at about $126 million. This compares to the 2010/11 Brisbane floods which cost $2.4 billion.

Lismore City Council infrastructure director Garry Hemsworth said the $500,000 figure was based on experience with floods and the recent storm at North Woodburn.

"Inspectors today are finally getting out into the rural areas to undertake a more thorough investigation and estimation of damage," Mr Hemsworth said.

"Some damage such as landslips can take quite some time, at least 12 months, to go through the process of investigation, design and approval through the RMS."

Byron Shire Council community infrastructure manager Phil Holloway said it was too soon to estimate the damage bill there. Byron Shire's roads have already suffered six landslips in Federal, Montecollum, Upper Coopers Creek and Wanganui.

"Some roads are not accessible and pavements are still covered in debris, so we can not get a 'total' picture of damage sustained," he said.

Richmond Valley Council general manager John Walker said given the size of this flood event, the Richmond Valley "got off relatively lightly" compared to what was being experienced in neighbouring areas.

Lismore, Byron and Ballina councils have all announced free green waste collections until Sunday.



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