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NSW roads cut but showers tipped to clear

Many flooded NSW towns and rural properties remain isolated and about 10,000km of roads are damaged but showers should become more isolated in the coming days.

Many flooded NSW towns and rural properties remain isolated and about 10,000km of roads are damaged but showers should become more isolated in the coming days. Photo: AAP

Showers are beginning to clear across NSW but flood recovery efforts in the state’s central west and Riverina regions have only just begun.

The State Emergency Service has welcomed the reprieve in the weather for flood-affected communities amid hopes that will continue for the rest of the week.

Major flooding is still occurring at Condobolin and Euabalong, where the Lachlan River may peak at eight metres by Thursday – higher than the 1952 floods.

The key areas of focus for NSW SES in the next three days include communities along the Lachlan – as well as the towns of Narrandera, Walgett, Bourke, Hay, Albury, Echuca, Mildura and Wentworth and Deniliquin and Moulamein.

Prolonged periods of isolation continue for many communities and rural properties across NSW.

The Riverina town of Moulamein is isolated and its 500 residents were urged to evacuate under escort on Tuesday or face being stranded for weeks.

NSW SES is assessing and planning for the potential of further communities experiencing isolation in the weeks ahead.

In the 24 hours until Wednesday, the SES received 270 requests for help and performed three flood rescues.

There are 89 active warnings, 14 at the emergency level.

Damaging winds that have battered the state this week have eased, with a severe weather warning cancelled.

The Bureau of Meteorology says a late-season burst of cold and windy weather has been moving over southeast Australia.

In a reprieve for flooded towns, showers will become more isolated and contract to coastal and mountain areas.

A high pressure system will develop over southern Australia from Wednesday, bringing a gradual clearing of conditions and warmer temperatures later this week.

However, as waters slip downstream, the flood response will only intensify and numerous inland roads remain cut off.

The crisis is now the most expensive natural disaster with the Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) saying $5.5 billion claims have been lodged in NSW this year.

Forbes Mayor Phyllis Miller says some people with existing policies have received letters saying they will not be renewed, while others say insurers refused to cover them to begin with.

ICA CEO Andrew Hall says “by and large insurers are sticking by their customers” but insists changes are required in towns like Forbes where eight homes were completely inundated and 140 were damaged.

“Now is the time to say to the government we need a flood levee or we need to do something about those particular homes so this doesn’t happen again,” he told ABC TV on Wednesday.

He rejected claims the industry was putting profits before people, saying $13 billion had been paid out in disaster claims since the catastrophic bushfires of 2019–20.

“There are towns like Eugowra … where the traditional insurance product is now very hard to provide,” he said.

“We have to think about other types of insurance products that people can access that will require partnership with the state and federal governments.

“The first thing they need to do is … building the flood levees that the towns have been asking for for years and years.”

Meanwhile, Regional Roads Minister Sam Farraway said 200 contractors and workers from Transport for NSW would be deployed in the state’s central west and the Riverina to help reconnect the road network.

“Early estimates from councils indicate 10,000 kilometres of roads have been affected, which will take many months to repair,” he said on Tuesday.

– AAP

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