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Indigenous communities offered flood clean-up help

When the catastrophic floods hit north-east NSW one year ago, much of Bundjalung Country went under water.

And when flooding affected western NSW later last year, several Aboriginal communities, including in Walgett, were forced to evacuate.

Now, the NSW Environment Protection Authority is offering up to $10 million to help Indigenous communities restore culturally significant land as part of a new Aboriginal Lands Flood Recovery program.

The program will be run in partnership with NSW Public Works and support flood-impacted communities to assess and manage the clean-up of waste generated by the 2022 floods on Indigenous lands.

Jali Local Aboriginal Land Council represents traditional owners from Ballina and surrounding areas including the community of Cabbage Tree Island.

Cabbage Tree Island was one of the places most severely affected by flooding, with Jali leading the evacuation and many homes and other buildings destroyed.

Jali chief executive Chris Binge told AAP that any support was welcome.

"We're looking forward to working with all levels of government to ensure that all action is driven by the community," he said.

Environment Protection Authority chief executive Tony Chappel said the program aimed to help Indigenous communities avoid issues with flood waste on their lands.

"The damage to community land and the environment over the past year has been extensive and we recognise the entire NSW landscape has spiritual and cultural significance to all Aboriginal people," he said.

Mr Chappel said the program would include clean-up and removal of waste at flood-damaged sites such as cultural centres and sheds, and restoration of fences and the natural environment.

"An important part of this program, where possible, is engaging local Aboriginal contractors to increase employment opportunities and embed consistent and meaningful understanding across the wider community," he said.

"Recognising community needs and culture is something that must always be at the forefront of any recovery effort."

The program will partner with Aboriginal land councils and community land managers through an expression of interest to provide support in assessing the scope for restoring areas.

It is being co-funded through a joint Commonwealth and NSW government disaster recovery initiative.