Disaster adaptation plans for all towns: That, to establish realistic expectations of safe spaces to live and deliver much needed housing quickly, Government through NSWRA working with local government:
• build a disaster adaptation plan for each city and town, with planning instruments discouraging (and in many cases forbidding) development in disaster-likely areas. These plans should be developed under the NSW Climate Change Adaptation Strategy 1 . For towns at high risk, this should be completed within 3 years, with the rest of the state to be completed within 5 years. To develop these plans, it will be necessary to prioritise modelling of the impact of and evacuation possibilities from likely potential disasters as well as modelling the direct impact of the potential disasters themselves. For floods this can be done by continuing and broadening the flood modelling done in INSW to other high-risk catchments. This flood modelling activity should be moved to the NSWRA from the two groups it is currently with (INSW’s Hawkesbury-Nepean Valley Flood Risk Management Directorate and the Department of Planning and Environment’s Environment and Heritage Group)
• through NSWRA, working with local councils, complete the first sweep of plans including appropriate hazard maps (including but not limited to flood, fire and landslip) and link them to Strategic Plans and LEPs (updating as necessary). An accreditation process should be implemented so local councils with demonstrated capacity can seek accreditation with the NSWRA to maintain their own disaster adaptation plans with oversight (spot audits) by NSWRA
• use the disaster adaptation plans including the disaster/evacuation modelling to resolve existing rezonings currently on hold especially for the North-West corridor of Sydney. Future residential development in the Hawkesbury-Nepean Valley should be increasingly discouraged in favour of rapid development near train stations and other facilities in flood-safe areas
• use the disaster adaptation plans including the disaster/evacuation modelling and the options spelled out in the Northern Rivers case study to inform town planning, relocation options, buy backs and land swaps for the flood affected Northern Rivers region with the NSWRA (and in the lead up to the NSWRA’s creation, the Northern Rivers Reconstruction Corporation) urgently commencing a phased program to migrate people off the highest-risk areas of the Lismore floodplain, and other Northern Rivers floodplains, through a significantly expanded land swap and voluntary house purchase scheme, with priority given to our most vulnerable community members
• prioritise and incentivise new development in safe areas, noting this will often mean encouraging first home buyers to choose homes in appropriate density developments, including high-rise developments, through siting such new developments in locations with desirable attributes (near train stations, parkland, shopping centres, etc.) In this regard, Government should focus on redeveloping existing Government land in these locations
• for existing developments which are in disaster-likely areas, ensures evacuation routes are available and of sufficient capacity; the community is well-educated about the risks they face and how and when to evacuate; and any modifications of existing buildings are approved only if they maximally address the relevant risk (e.g. apartment buildings have the first few floors dedicated to parking so residents can shelter in place if necessary) noting that shelter in place only works if the flood waters come up and go down quickly, and if other essential services (water, electricity, sewerage, access to food and medical supplies, etc) are available
• using the Six Cities Region as an inspiration, consider developing another strategic city cluster in NSW, prioritising safety from fire and flood along with affordable housing; new industries offering well-paid employment; living within 30 minutes of the workplace; and offering access to education and training at all levels.

Recommendation 19