Port Macquarie-Hastings Council will work with its regional counterparts to develop programs which aim to protect our region.
It comes after a Mid North Coast Joint Organisation-hosted forum to discuss issues and priorities needed to achieve future disaster preparedness in our communities.
Port Macquarie-Hastings mayor Peta Pinson said the impact of the recent bushfires and the ongoing drought conditions were really being felt within our community.
"Many local residents and businesses have been impacted, and in times of need, council are looked upon to provide leadership and assistance," she said.
Cr Pinson said our community was extremely close and collaborative and this spirit had really shone through with the great work of local volunteers, emergency service agencies and the broader community.
"Our priority is to ensure that we are well prepared for any disaster and we will be actively working with our regional council colleagues to develop programs that aim to protect our beautiful region and everyone who is lucky enough to call it home," she said.
The disaster preparedness forum brought together councillors and staff of various Mid-North Coast councils, state government agencies, schools and other key agencies.
The forum coordination occurred several months before the devastating fires on the Mid-North Coast and North Coast, with the forum taking place towards the end of November, just as communities were dealing with the aftermath and recovery from fires.
Former NSW Fire and Rescue Commissioner Greg Mullins shared his perspective at the forum on the bushfire outlook.
His key message was bushfire size, speed and intensity had increased.
Mr Mullins is a member of the Climate Council and Emergency Leaders for Climate Action.
He said this had been the most dangerous build-up to a fire season he had seen since 1994, when NSW was previously devastated.
"It's going to be harder in the future to fight these fires," Mr Mullins said.
Participants discussed the lessons from the recent fire emergencies, including better collaboration and information flow between government agencies and key local organisations such as schools, hospitals, aged care facilities and emergency responders.
The forum also explored the key concerns around fire response and recovery.
Kempsey Shire mayor and joint organisation chair Liz Campbell noted the outstanding contribution of the emergency services and volunteer responders during the bushfires, which was acknowledged by all present, with a commitment that collaboration would continue into the future to improve future disaster preparedness.
In early 2019, the joint organisation determined one of its key projects would be the development of a community resilience program.
This program is under development, with assistance from the NSW Office of Emergency Management, which has announced the placement of a disaster preparedness officer in the region for up to two years.
The officer, who will be hosted by the joint organisation, will work with all Mid-North Coast councils in the development of suitable disaster preparedness programs.
Read more here:
While you're with us, you can now receive updates straight to your inbox from the Port Macquarie News. To make sure you're up to date with all the news, SIGN UP HERE.