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Economy still 'on its knees' after floods

A street sign on Bakers Road south of Murwillumbah towards Uki covered in debris after the March floods.
A street sign on Bakers Road south of Murwillumbah towards Uki covered in debris after the March floods. SCOTT POWICK

IT'S been almost seven months since the Tweed endured its worst flooding on record, but long after the waters subsided, much of the community is still hurting.

While Tweed MP Geoff Provest has this month been looking to open up new export avenues for Tweed producers, businesses have slammed the State and Federal Governments for failing to do more to help the region recover.

Mr Provest said recent meetings with NSW Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight Melinda Pavey at Gold Coast Airport were "a great opportunity” which could lead to "tremendous advantage” for businesses.

But Murwillumbah-based Ozganics owner Anni Brownjohn said the export plans were "all fluff”.

"We've just been through the biggest natural disaster (in decades) and these guys are talking motherhood statements,” she said.

"We've got an economy that's on its knees and we've got people without homes.”

Richmond MP Justine Elliot said State and Federal Governments' response had been "absolutely appalling”.

"It was heartbreaking at the time and it still is,” Mrs Elliot said.

"That's why I'm calling on the State and Federal governments to deliver funding... to get businesses back on their feet.”

Murwillumbah and District business chamber Ilze Jaunberzins said while she was "amazed” at how resilient many had been, the town was still hurting.

"We asked to meet with the premier and got (Lismore MP) Thomas George and (Small Business Commissioner) Robyn Hobbs,” she said.

"The talks were not fruitful and we feel let down by both national and state governments.”

The chamber and SES will hold a workshop to better prepare businesses for future flood events in March.

"More floods will come but business owners can be assured and secured that they've got a plan,” she said.

Reverend Theresa Mitchell from Agape Outreach said she'd this week met with 15 residents who remained homeless since the floods.

Mr George - whose electorate covers Murwillumbah - declined to comment.

Topics:  tropical cyclone debbie tweed flood 2017



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