Residents in fire-affected areas of the Mid-North Coast are yet to learn if the federal government's Royal Commission or the state government's bushfire inquiry will visit the area.
The terms of reference for the Royal Commission were announced on February 20 while submissions to the state government's inquiry opened on February 11.
Port Macquarie-Hastings, Kempsey Shire and MidCoast council areas were heavily impacted during the summer fires, including the death of Johns River resident Julie Fletcher in November, 2019.
Thousands of square kilometres of bush were lost along with a number of houses and other property assets.
For one Pappinbarra resident, the two government-level investigations into the summer from hell will be worthless if they don't talk directly with families impacted by bushfires.
"It's bleeding obvious what is needed," says Lisa McLeod, a property owner and RFS member.
"I'd like the opportunity to talk directly to both of them (the Royal Commission and the NSW Bushfire Inquiry).
The people involved in the whole fire disaster need to have their voices heard; the people on the ground.Lisa McLeod
"The people involved in the whole fire disaster need to have their voices heard; the people on the ground.
"If you want to talk to the people who really understand what happened, talk to the people impacted.
"That means the people in the fire trucks, the people who lived through back to back bushfire disasters and then got hit with a flood.
"I would like to have seen lessons learnt from one disaster to the next. I didn't see any differences."
She wants to see an emergency plan formulated that can be enacted immediately when disasters such as bushfires are unfolding.
She says this would help community more directly and provide a guide or map to recovery and would include how to source assistance and services.
"If there was a plan, I would have liked to have known how it could be used to effectively enact the recovery process," she says.
"That would be better than going off my gut feeling.
"Where is that help? We need a body that can help in the recovery; we can't do it ourselves."
Ms McLeod said people in communities like Pappinbarra and Hollisdale - and others - are resilient people who help each other out, give a damn and try to make a difference.
"But it needs more than that because one person can't do it all," she said.
She also suggested property owners should have more responsibility for maintaining their property to negate the impacts of bushfire.
This would include rural and semi rural communities receiving a level of training to better protect their properties.
Our brigade has three fire trucks in this valley in an area of 42 kilometres long. That's 147 properties, how do you get to all of them in a time of crisis?Lisa McLeod
"Our brigade has three fire trucks in this valley in an area that's 42 kilometres long. That's 147 properties. How do you get to all of them in a time of crisis? she said.
"And we have one truck (at Hollisdale) that seats six volunteers, but there are about 13 members.
"Our brigade would welcome another fire truck."
Another issue confronting volunteer fire fighters is how support - including counselling services - is accessed or made available.
Volunteers currently access these services by making contact with the rural fire service.
But Mrs McLeod argues, this support should come to the brigade members - from the top down.
"Fire fighters making tough decisions realise there are consequences involved; if three houses are on fire, which one do you protect first?
"Those kinds of decisions can stay with you. And while you can debrief as a brigade - and we do - why isn't someone organising debriefing sessions independently?
"A community is a powerful thing and we should be relying mostly on ourselves," she said. "But when a catastrophic event of this nature comes along, we need support and assistance. It should not fall on community.
"I can tell you that about 10 people in our brigades protected someone else's property while their own property burned."
The community activist also hit back over the issue of the federal government making available $300 for each day fire fighting volunteers contributed to the fire effort.
The red tape around that was enormous. It was too hard to navigate and they may well not have bloody said it was available at all.Lisa McLeod
"The red tape around that was onerous. It was too hard to navigate and they may well not have bloody said it was available at all," she added.
Oxley MP Melinda Pavey says discussions following the devastating bushfires had led to conversations about the necessity to do better.
That led to the state government undertaking the independent inquiry, she said.
"This Inquiry needs your input to be a success and I encourage all locals to lodge a submission," she said.
Port Macquarie MP Leslie Williams also urged residents to have their say.
"We all know how devastating the bushfires have been across NSW over the past six months and our area bore the brunt of the fires in November and December resulting in the tragic loss of life of Johns River resident Julie Fletcher," she said.
"I encourage local residents to make a submission."
Federal MP Dr David Gillespie says he has invited the Royal Commission to visit the Mid-North Coast.
"They should hear firsthand from residents who have been affected by the fires," he said.
"There is a clear community expectation for a direct federal government response to these types of disasters.
"We need to learn from the past bushfire season how we the commonwealth can work better with the state to protect and equip our communities."
Lyne MP Pat Conaghan was also asked to comment for this story.
The Royal Commission is due to table its report by August 31.
For make a submission to the NSW Bushfire Inquiry visit the website.
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