AUTHORITIES in flood-hit areas of northern NSW have urged the state and federal governments to declare natural disaster zones.
Waters are receding in the worst-affected areas of Bellingen and Tweed shires and Clarence Valley, but emergency services remain on standby and authorities are monitoring a monsoonal weather pattern predicted to cross into northern NSW from Queensland early today.
Bellingen mayor Mark Troy said a preliminary assessment of damage to roads before the water receded put the repair bill at $560,000 but this was expected to rise.
''Certainly the sooner the better,'' Cr Troy said. ''It is beyond local government to throw these extra resources at the repairs.''
His counterpart from Tweed Shire Council, Barry Longland, said the bill for his area would be at least as much as that in Bellingen. ''It will certainly be a bill beyond the resources of ratepayers,'' he said.
A spokesman for the NSW Minister for Emergency Services, Mike Gallacher, said the government would wait for damage assessments, possibly tomorrow or on Tuesday, before declaring any disaster zones.