Eugowra sparks flood-zone building debate

NSW Labor has promised to ban overdevelopment in flood plains as debate on the issue reignites against the backdrop of flattened central west town Eugowra.

One woman has died, two men remain missing and the town's residents are facing months of recovery after powerful flash flooding flattened much of the town on Monday morning.

Four days later, and 65 days after NSW's latest flood crisis began, Labor on Friday said it would simplify planning rules to stop overdevelopment in flood plains if voted into power in March.

The opposition noted the current approach where six ministers in government have planning powers, risked "putting more people in harm's way".

"With more frequent and increasingly severe flood events, it simply makes no sense to continue to repeat the same mistake of developing in flood-prone areas," Labor Leader Chris Minns said.

"Labor will adopt a proactive approach to planning and mitigating against the impact of floods, by drafting new rules and streamlining planning processes".

Moving residents off high-risk flood plains over time using a mixture of planning controls, land swaps, buy-backs and leveraging private investment in new developments was one of the 28 recommendations from the NSW flood inquiry led by Mary O'Kane and Mick Fuller.

The NSW government is expected to lead work on a nationwide revamp of planning and development laws.

NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet, who saw recovery efforts in Eugowra first-hand on Friday, said he will present his plans on development in high-risk areas at the National Cabinet.

"Going forward, we ... can't change the sins of the past," he told reporters from Eugowra.

"What we can do is make improvements going forward and not make those mistakes again, and I'm very much focused on that."

When pushed on why a halt on construction in flood plains should not be implemented, the premier said a moratorium or an outright ban was not the right solution.

"This was a freak event. You'd be closing down the entire state.

"It's not about blanket bans. It's about looking at those areas where there's a major risk on significant flood plains and saying hold on we're going to stop development".

While some areas were at more risk and certain areas won't be permitted to be developed, the entire state was flood-prone, he said.

"We're in a state where, everywhere you go, you are at risk of being flooded," Mr Perrottet said.

"That is the reality, whether that's in metropolitan Sydney, or regional NSW from Balmain to Broken Hill, you're at risk of floods."

Federal Emergency Management Minister Murray Watt on Thursday said a nationwide overhaul of planning laws was needed against the backdrop of ongoing floods.

"What we need to do at a minimum is stop approving developments in areas that we know are going to flood," Mr Watt told ABC Radio.

"There's a real appetite to get moving on this. It's something that's been in the too-hard basket for too long, and we're all literally paying the price of that now."