10 April 2024

Need help after the floods? Here's a guide to support in the Illawarra

| Zoe Cartwright
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Wollongong's Corrimal Street under water.

Wollongong’s Corrimal Street under water. Photo: SES Wollongong.

The cleanup after disaster strikes can be equal parts heartbreak and overwhelm – and you don’t have to face it alone.

As floodwaters withdraw across Wollongong and the Illawarra, the NSW Reconstruction Authority is on the ground, working with councils and other agencies to coordinate the region’s recovery.

This week the NSW and Australian governments made a disaster declaration for the area, opening up access to a range of special assistance measures for flood-affected communities, provided through the jointly funded Commonwealth-State Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements.

Two Recovery Assistance Points (RAPs) will be open from Thursday, 11 April – one in Thirroul and one in Warrawong.

The pop-up RAPs provide access to important support services for disaster-affected individuals, families, farmers and business owners to begin the cleanup and recovery process, including NSW Government and local government services, community organisations and welfare assistance.

READ ALSO Acts of kindness shine through amid Illawarra flood devastation

Mental health first aid and a range of not-for-profits will also be there.

Services available include Service NSW, including business concierges (at Thirroul), NSW Reconstruction Authority, Salvation Army, Insurance Council of Australia and telephone interpreting services.

The RAPs are located at Thirroul District Community Centre and Library, 352-358 Lawrence Hargrave Drive and the Warrawong Community Centre, 7-9 Greene Street, during the following hours:

Thursday: noon – 7 pm
Friday: 10 am – 4 pm
Saturday: 9 am – 1 pm

If needed, further RAPs may be scheduled. Anyone not able to attend can contact Service NSW for remote assistance, with customer care specialists available on the phone via 13 77 88.

Wollongong, Shellharbour and Kiama councils are all offering support as well.

READ ALSO Minnamurra Rainforest and Visitor Centre closed after deluge causes landslip

In Wollongong, flood-affected residents can book a free on-call household cleanup. Remondis will pick up building waster (excluding asbestos), food waste, wet clothes, rugs, carpets, damaged furniture and general household waste. To book, call Remondis on 1300 362 360.

Road closures remain in place at Kelton Lane, Thirroul; Vera St, Helensburgh; Asquith St, Austinmer and the pedestrian bridge on O’Briens Road, Figtree near the high school is also closed.

Sportsgrounds, playgrounds, pools and beaches are slowly reopening – check out the council’s website for the latest.

Shellharbour City Council has waived its waste depot disposal fees for flood-damaged waste to help the community with the costs of cleaning up from Saturday’s severe weather.

Shellharbour residents who suffered flood damage at their property on Saturday can dispose of their flood-damaged waste free of charge at Dunmore Waste Disposal Depot during opening days and times.

Warilla Central and Shellharbour North beaches are closed due to water pollution.

Kiama Council has waived the gate fee for flood-damaged green waste at Minnamurra Waste and Recycling Centre, open 8 am to 4 pm, Monday to Saturday, at 446 Riverside Drive, Minnamurra.

Flood-damaged general waste, such as building materials and furniture, can be dropped off for free at the Dunmore Recycling and Waste Depot in Shellharbour (Kiama Council has no landfill site).

Kiama Council is covering the gate fee at Dunmore for general waste, for Kiama residents, until 21 April.

Residents simply need to provide their rates notice when disposing of their flood-related waste at Minnamurra or Dunmore.

Swamp Road, Jamberoo is closed. All Kiama sports fields have a caution status, except Gainsborough Oval, which is closed.

Surf Beach is open, with patrols between 9 am and 4:30 pm, although checking water quality before swimming is recommended.

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