Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has confirmed he will visit flood-ravaged New South Wales on Wednesday as severe weather continues
Mr Albanese was speaking from the tarmac in Perth after a week-long trip to Europe that included an appearance at the NATO summit in Spain, bilateral talks with French President Emmanuel Macron and a visit to war-torn Ukraine.
The Prime Minister will join NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet on his visit of the floods.
“[Mr Perrottet] told me that he was very pleased with the urgent action that had been taken by the federal government. And we continue to make that support available,” he said.
Some 50,000 people have been given evacuation orders or warnings and several major flood alerts are in place in NSW, including for the Hawkesbury-Nepean catchment as rivers rise.
Mr Albanese returned from his European tour on Tuesday afternoon. Photo: AAP
The Bureau of Meteorology said moderate to heavy rain fell overnight in Sydney, the Central Coast and the Hunter, but will ease later on Tuesday with the weather system heading to the Mid-North Coast on Wednesday.
“We can expect to see some of the rivers in the Mid-North Coast respond to rain that falls there tonight and tomorrow,” the BOM’s Jane Golding said.
Flood risks for already-soaked catchments will remain for weeks.
Major flooding continues along the Hawkesbury River at Windsor, Sackville, North Richmond and Wisemans Ferry to the northwest of Sydney.
Rivers are rising in the Hunter, and major flooding is occurring at Bulga on the Wollombi Brook.
Rain is forecast for the rest of the week, extending north to areas still reeling from record-breaking floods in February, March and April.
Around 250 Australian Defence Force personnel have been made available to assist with the disaster efforts, with 100 already on the ground in communities.
Some 50 troops are on hand to support clean-up once it commences, while an additional 100 ADF personnel are on standby.
State Emergency Service Commissioner Carlene York said resources have been directed north, with backup requested from Victoria.
“We’re talking to the other states today about what might be needed over the next couple days,” she said.
Mr Albanese thanked volunteers and emergency staff who assisted with evaluations, urging residents to remain vigilant.
“My heart goes out to people who have suffered again and again and again and again, and the many of those communities that are also impacted by the bushfires,” he said.
“I say to people, stay safe, keep vigilant, keep following the advice which is being given by emergency personnel.”
Mr Perrottet pleaded with people to follow SES evacuation orders, saying two of the 22 flood rescues conducted overnight were in areas people had been told to leave.
“They’re also putting our volunteers at risk … if those orders are in place, and your home is affected, please leave,” he said.
Ms York said people along southwest Sydney’s Woronora River were caught out when levels rose quickly on Monday.
“The waters rise very rapidly … the evacuation orders had been issued many hours before and we got calls for assistance for evacuations,” Ms York said.
SES crews responded to another call from someone claiming to need rescuing from a roof.
“Very disappointingly … it turned out to be a hoax,” Ms York said, saying the call took resources away from people who genuinely needed help.
Flood Recovery Minister Steph Cooke said about 400 people are in the state’s nine evacuation centres, and 150 in emergency accommodation.
About 19,000 homes are without power after rising waters and damaging winds prompted energy companies to cut electricity.
Meanwhile, joint disaster funding has been announced for 23 affected local government areas.
Ms Cooke said it was an important step to getting support to communities and encouraged people to contact ServiceNSW to access relief.
Federal Emergency Management Minister Murray Watt said the Commonwealth and NSW governments were working to ensure affected areas get financial and other assistance as soon as possible.
“We have seen some of these impacted communities being hit by floods for a third and fourth time in 18 months, which is extremely distressing to the residents,” he said.
Mr Perrottet said the federal minister had been at the State Emergency Operations Centre on Monday.
“We’re running the operational side, but them having an understanding of what’s going on on the ground is incredibly important,” he said.
Evacuation orders in place for parts of:
- Windsor, Shanes Park, Pitt Town, Pitt Town Bottoms, McGraths Hill, Mulgrave, Vineyard, Chipping Norton, Lower Portland, Georges Hall, Warwick Farm, Moorebank, Lansvale, Woronora, Bonnet Bay, Wisemans Ferry, Richards, Wilberforce, Cattai, Sackville, Londonderry, Ebenezer, Riverstone, Agnes Banks, South Maroota, Yarramundi, Penrith, Wallacia, Emu Heights, Emu Plains, Leets Vale, Cumberland Reach, Oakville, North Richmond, Freemans Reach, Bligh Park, Richmond Lowlands, Angus, Cornwallis, Gronos Point, Pleasure Point, Bents Basin, Camden
Evacuation warnings in place for parts of:
- Mooney Mooney Dam, Sandy Point, St Georges Basin, Sussex Inlet, Schofields, Windsor Downs, Marsden Park, Melonba, Mulgoa, Clarendon, Leonay, Lake Illawarra, South Windsor, Cranebrook, Regentville, Castlereagh, East Hills, Picnic Point, Elderslie
Major flooding is occurring along:
- Hawkesbury River at North Richmond (14.03m, steady), at Sackville (10.69m, steady), at Windsor (13.93m, steady), and at Wisemans Ferry (5.21m, falling)
- Wollombi Brook at Bulga (5.96m, rising)
Moderate flooding is occurring along:
- Nepean River at Menangle Bridge (10.2m, steady) and at Camden Weir (8.92m, steady)
- Wollombi Brook at Wollombi (11.71m, rising)
Residents ordered to evacuate can return with caution to:
- Plough and Harrow Dam near Abbostbury and Cecil Hills.