THE lessons of disastrous floods in 1955 have been forgotten, and the drought has made people complacent about the risks of flooding in the state, experts say.
The La Nina weather pattern this summer is similar to the La Nina episode in 1955, when floods hit the Hunter Valley.
''Droughts and periods of wet are part of cycles, and they haven't gone away, said Chas Keys, a retired deputy director-general of the State Emergency Service. ''It's a lesson of nature, these things always come back.''
Government resources had been directed away from flood mitigation towards bushfire and salination management, he said.
Federal funding for flood management had declined since the 1990s, and the burden had shifted to cash-strapped councils. Complacency over flood risks meant development was returning to flood-prone land.