Early reports this week indicated that roughly $430 million has already been processed for flood relief payments.
Many would argue that money should have been spent on flood mitigation and prevention measure well before those one-in-100 years rainfalls that happened four times in two years.
Yes, better still, in my opinion, local councils should cease to give approval for developments on flood prone lands.
While walking in the rain recently, we noticed a pair of what I think were sea eagles building a nest on top of the Telstra tower that's located in the Fingal Bay Oval, Fingal Bay (Telstra were informed for safety reasons).
The nest can been seen across the road near the dog park and while it's not ground breaking news, it did cause quite a few walkers to stop and marvel at these beautiful birds preparing for their next family.
Over the past three years we have endured numerous setbacks, natural disasters, the COVID pandemic and various economic challenges.
Currently we are seeing repeated natural disasters displacing many fellow Australians and devastating many communities.
We should also spare a thought and thank those many volunteer emergency workers who continually risk their lives to help others.
Governments should initiate an emergency fund to provide immediate relief to those disadvantaged people and provide emergency equipment to our volunteers.
While almost everyone is claiming that Port Stephens Council's financial position is no secret, it certainly has been for some time, in my opinion.
The council continues to report on the impact of the pandemic as though it was a latent phenomenon whose long-term financial implications could not be envisaged or calculated by anyone, let alone a council who already faced financial difficulties.
Living in a place that relies far too heavily upon the tourist dollar, it should have been a no brainer that no tourists means no income and council should have adopted practices that reflected this.
The council takes every opportunity to highlight that Port Stephens (PS) pays the lowest rate of other Hunter region councils, what they fail to mention is that PS Own Source Funding is on par with most of those same councils.
Nor does it mention that Port Stephens Council's level of "outstanding rates" is generally below most of those councils with much higher rates.
So, while these comparable councils have higher rates it would seem that they have more residents who are struggling to pay their rates and/or receive concessions to counter this.
The council claims that revenues from managing its holiday parks is a major contributor to its Own Source revenues but nowhere in any of the documents I can find does it say, "this is how much profit (after all costs) we receive from 'Managing' the holiday parks".
The call for more money and hence the need for an Special Rate Variation is all based on a document developed from "Expectations and Aspiration".
I'm afraid these things are nice-to-haves and not necessities.
This developing financial argument, in my opinion, is more about the council 'maintaining a lifestyle of excess' than providing a responsible local custodian of the community it is meant to represent.
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can access our trusted content:
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.