In response to the 2022 floods that impacted the Cabonne Council area up to 141 applications have been made for emergency pod accommodation, with 97 pods currently installed. Emergency accommodation was also provided via caravan placement with 137 caravans initially installed across the shire with 20 caravans still remaining in use.
The recovery pods allowed individuals and families to reside on their own property in these temporary structures. This enabled the affected individuals and families to stay within their communities. There are currently 97 of these recovery pods within the Cabonne Council LGA. Changes to the Local Government Regulations were made to permit these temporary structures for up to two years, however this period will progressively cease from February 2025.
Extenuating circumstances such as COVID-19, lengthy delays in insurance claims, and the shortage of construction materials and trade workers have impacted the ability of the recipients of the recovery pods, delaying their rebuild. The state government has contacted council, requesting that council adopt a Local Approvals Policy that would allow the recovery pods to remain on the current properties beyond the initial two years.
A Local Approvals Policy controls activity under Section 68 of the NSW Local Government Act. Section 68 identifies works that are exempt; and specifies which works require approval through an activity application and outlines criteria for consideration in the approval or activity applications.
It has been identified that of the 97 current Recovery Pod recipients within the Cabonne area that many recipients may require longer than the two-year limit to finalise their rebuilds. The State government has requested that council adopts a Local Approvals Policy that would allow the emergency housing pods to remain on properties beyond their two-year lease to support the transition of recipients into permanent accommodation. The additional two-year extension was decided on to provide the most practical support for the recipients.
The lease extension of these recovery pods will support the compliance of the recipients as they continue with the rebuilding and recovery process. Evidence of progress to the recipient’s rebuilds will be required at the 12-month mark to ensure that the rebuilds are on track and forms part of the lease agreement between the parties and the Reconstruction Authority NSW.
Legislation requires that the draft policy be publicly exhibited for 28 days and is open for submissions for 42 days following the date it is placed on public exhibition and needs to obtain the consent of the Departmental Chief Executive before adoption.
The policy will be reported back to the council for adoption following the consideration of any submissions made during public exhibition.
Submissions can be made to council until 5pm Monday, 11 December 2023. Comments and submissions may be lodged in writing to the General Manager, PO Box 17, Molong NSW 2866 or emailed to email@example.com