STORY: Frustrated residents, with no access to power and internet for several days, have blamed authorities for the slow speed and scale of relief efforts. During a visit to the devastated town of Lismore in northern New South Wales, Morrison was greeted by dozens of angry protesters, chanting "shame on you" as his motorcade arrived at the local emergency operations center on Wednesday morning.
The emergency declaration, which was set up after Australia's destructive 2019 bushfires, will help cut red tape and speed up aid from defense personnel amid criticism about a slow response to the floods in which 20 people have died.
A large swathe of Australia's east coast has been inundated, after a second intense low-pressure system in as many weeks led to fast-rising floodwaters that cut off entire communities and trapped many people trapped in their homes. Major flooding continues in Sydney's western suburbs, although thousands of residents in Sydney's northeast returned to their homes after rains eased.