Region’s bushfire recovery slammed as ‘inadequate’
WITH reports of residents still living out of tents in the region, the state’s bushfire recovery was today slammed by a local MP and NSW Shadow Minister for Local Government Greg Warren.
As part of a Northern Rivers tour, Mr Warren and State Member for Lismore Janelle Saffin MP met with Lismore and Kyogle councils to hear about how the recovery process was going after bushfires impacted the Nimbin, Woodenbong and Bonalbo areas late last year.
“The devastation suffered in parts of the North Coast, including nearly 240 homes lost is absolutely heartbreaking,” Mr Warren said.
“The feedback I’m getting back from the community is the State Government’s disaster response has not been fast enough, it’s inadequate and has not gone into the right places for the right reasons.”
He said the respective councils expressed needing urgent support for “many things” including roads signs, halls and even TAFE colleges.
“The state government needs to make regional bushfire recovery more of a priority,” he said.
“What we need is urgency and funding in the right places, to get these communities back on their feet and get our kids back to schools.
“Get the funding in place to fix the communities with the things that they need. It’s not a time for politics, now is the time to put the people in our fire affected communities first.”
Ms Saffin said she hoped the NSW deputy premier John Barilaro would “rise up” now that he was in charge of recovery.
“To some, NSW stands for Newcastle, Sydney and Wollongong in terms of priority and that’s how people feel here,” she said.
“People are living in tents here after the bushfires.
“Why weren’t huts given out?”
She said residents who have been through a disaster should be case-managed by one person.
“There’s burnt out bridges and damaged water tanks that can’t be fixed,” she said.
“There needs to be more careful collaboration with the government agencies. This had been a catastrophic event and humanitarian and ecological crisis, and we are not responding to it like that with the recovery.”