Anthony Albanese has been briefed on the flood disaster in greater Sydney, as residents prepare for challenging conditions in coming hours.
The prime minister was briefed on the natural disaster on Monday by NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet and federal Emergency Management Minister Murray Watt.
Mr Albanese received the briefing after crossing back into Poland following a visit to war-torn Ukraine.
The federal government has committed 200 defence personnel to assist with the emergency, along with two helicopters, after a request by the NSW government.
Senator Watt said it was critical such forces were deployed early to help with sandbagging and evacuation efforts in affected areas.
"We haven't heard of any further requests that will be made, but of course we would listen carefully to what the NSW government asks of us going forward," he told Sky News on Monday.
"If we can make it through till (Tuesday) morning without any more flood waters rising, then I think hopefully that means we're starting to move through."
While there are signs flood levels may have peaked in the Hawkesbury-Nepean area, Senator Watt said there would still be concern in coming days for other areas in Sydney and the Hunter.
The minister said the flooding was the worst the region had seen during the past 18 months.
"It's very comparable to the water levels and the flood levels that we saw in the floods in that exact region earlier this year, and even in some parts, approaching the levels that were recorded early last year," he said.
"I really feel for the people who live in those regions, they've been through so much."
Senator Watt said a "sensible discussion" was needed about where new developments were built to help mitigate the damage from natural disasters such as floods.
"If we're thinking about where we're placing new development, we need to take into account flood risks, bushfire risks when it comes to these sorts of approvals," he said.
"What we need to do as a community is look at what we can do to mitigate or reduce the impact of these kinds of disasters in areas that are already developed."
However, he said he would not go as far as suggest people in the flood-affected areas look to move following repeated flooding incidents.
Mr Perrottet said the federal and state emergency ministers were coordinating their response.
"We have worked with the Commonwealth government to get ADF support on the ground immediately, providing essential support, going from door-to-door, providing instructions and advice to those people who are flood-affected," he told reporters on Monday.
"The fact that we have had ... the ADF on the ground straightaway is incredibly pleasing and you can certainly see that has improved from the last flooding events we have had earlier in the year.
"We can always learn from events of the past to make sure we do better in the future."
The government announced an overhaul of Australia's disaster recovery agencies on Friday and will merge Emergency Management Australia and the National Recovery and Resilience Agency from September 1.
"We will have one organisation at the federal level responsible for everything from preparing for disasters, to responding to them, to recovery and then resilience for the future," Senator Watt said.
Australian Associated Press
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