Flood rescue costs should go back to SES, say pollies
A SECOND State Government Minister has voiced concerns that more needs to be done to prevent people from driving through floodwaters following a large number of rescues over the weekend.
Parliamentary Secretary for the Illawarra Gareth Ward has put forward a proposal that would make people who drive through floodwaters liable for the cost of their rescue.
The Kiama MP said taxpayers should not have to pay for people who deliberately and recklessly enter flood waters, ABC news reported.
Mr Ward has already put the proposal in writing to the New South Wales Premier Mike Baird.
"I'm saying that the cost recovery should go back to the RFS and SES involved because people who are volunteering their time shouldn't have to put their lives at risk for people who continue to ignore the warnings," he said.
Lismore MP Thomas George said he would be discussing the issue with the Ministers for Police and Emergency Services over what actions needed to be taken to make people listen.
But Mr George said he wouldn't be making any comment about whether or not he supported Mr Ward's proposal, until he had a chance to speak to the ministers about available options.
Mr George said despite all the warnings that go out ahead of floods, there were still people ignoring the instruction.
"I do not support anyone putting themselves, the public or emergency service workers lives at risk by entering flood waters," he said.
"Last weekend I was disgusted to learn that in excess of 60 rescues had to take place.
"It just proves people are not heeding the warning.
"I will be discussing the issue with the Ministers for Police and Emergency Services to see what action needs to be taken to make people listen."
A poll conducted by The Northern Star asked readers what authorities should do to people who drove through floodwaters.
Almost 50% of respondents said they should be made to pay for the cost of the rescue.
According to 20% of people, fines should be issued, while 14% said authorities should "do nothing".