SA Premier Peter Malinauskas announces $51.6m flood support package

Riverland community members impacted by flooding will be provided financial support as part of a $51.6 million assistance package, the South Australian Premier announced today.

Peter Malinauskas and his entire cabinet visited the region today ahead of the forecast flood peak at the start of December.

In Berri, Mr Malinauskas announced the package to support households, businesses, councils and relevant government departments.

Two weeks of emergency accommodation will be provided for those who are unable to return to their homes, as well as $400 grants for individuals and up to $1,000 for families who are displaced from their homes.

“The government stands ready to do for those most in need – whether that be for households or businesses,” Mr Malinauskas said.

“Both in terms of preparedness, response and then also recovery.

“We have got a journey ahead of us and we are all very determined to work together.

A riverfront
Peter Malinauskas says high river flows are likely to continue early next year, potentially even into Autumn.(ABC Riverland: Anita Ward)

“We need to be flexible, as a government, to respond to the needs as they change over the weeks and months ahead.”

Treasurer Stephen Mulligan said the funding would also stretch to cover families who were not covered by insurance.

“For households and families, who are required to leave their properties due to the threat of inundation, or because of losing power to their homes, they will be entitled to an immediate grant for up to $1,000 for a family for that impact on them,” he said.

“A further $1,000 [will be made available] to try and meet the first two weeks of costs of finding accommodation elsewhere, but bearing in mind that many households will be covered for insurance.

“For those people who aren’t covered for insurance, there will be further support available for them from the government — $2,000 for singles and up to $5,000 for families.”

Power cut, relief plugged  

Mr Malinauskas said thousands of people in the Riverland would lose power before floodwater hit the SA leg of the River Murray early next month.

He said shutting off power would be an important safety measure and there would be grants to help those affected.  

They will include $500 grants to households and $5,000 for businesses to help cover the cost of purchasing a generator.

Water from a floodplain getting closer to a carpark and ramp.
Floodwater has risen at various locations across the Riverland, including behind the Overland Corner Hotel. (ABC Riverland: Sam Bradbrook)

Mr Malinauskas said SA Power Networks would only cut power if absolutely necessary, but said more work was needed to address community concerns.

“I think there’s work to be done to ensure the extent of those power disconnections is minimised as far as possible,” he said. 

Emergency recovery veteran appointed 

The state government also announced a flood recovery coordinator for South Australia. 

Man stands in front of river
Alex Zimermann has been appointed as the flood recovery coordinator in SA.(ABC News: Che Chorley)

Alex Zimmermann performed similar roles after the Cudlee Creek Bushfires in 2019 and the Pinery Bushfire in 2016. 

Mr Zimmermann said he would spend time familiarising himself with towns which were likely to be impacted by flooding.

But he said he could already see community spirit in action. 

“I can’t reiterate enough, not just from the Premier but Tim Whetstone, about the resilience that I’ve seen of the community in the work that they’ve already undertaken,” he said.

“That’s in collaboration particularly with local government and understanding the complexity of this recovery.

He said the river stretched for nearly 900 kilometres from the state border to the mouth.

“In that, there are many, many communities all of which have different needs and vulnerabilities,” he said.

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