As many bushfire impacted communities are now dealing with flood recovery, it is more important than ever to keep community liaison and support officers on the ground.
Federal Minister for Emergency Management David Littleproud and New South Wales Deputy Premier and Minister Responsible for Disaster Recovery John Barilaro announced a 12-month extension to the provision of NSW bushfire Community Recovery Officers (CROs), with their support services extending to flood recovery as well.
The extension means community-based liaison officers are available to help bushfire and flood victims navigate immediate assistance, grants for household and structural repairs, and other recovery needs.
Minister Littleproud said local council-appointed CROs, together with the Commonwealth recovery officers, are well placed to understand disaster recovery within their communities – bushfire or flood.
“Having visited areas impacted by bushfires and now floods, I have seen firsthand the impacts of compounding trauma on communities,” he said.
“We will continue to support bushfire affected communities as well as provide assistance where we can to those living with the aftermath of floods.”
Deputy Premier Barilaro said Community Recovery Officers have been based in local councils for the past year, working extensively in bushfire impacted communities across NSW to provide tailored local support and coordination services between government, recovery organisations and individuals.
“The impacts of the floods and bushfires will be ongoing which is why it is crucial that we support communities for the long term. We will continue to deliver recovery support services for as long as they are needed,” Deputy Premier Barilaro said.
“Community Recovery Officers have been working across NSW, connecting people with everything from rebuilding advice to mental health support and community events. This extension will ensure they can continue assisting victims of natural disasters as the needs of communities evolve.
“The demand for services of our 22 Community Recovery Officers is ongoing, especially with the additional challenges of floods and COVID-19. We will be adding a 23rd Community Recovery Officer to assist Mid-Western Regional Council for dedicated support for the community who are experiencing complex recovery issues.”
CRO assistance is funded through the joint Commonwealth-State Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements (DRFA).
The Australian and NSW governments will continue to work closely together supporting longer term recovery.
Community Recovery Officers continue in the following Local Government Areas for an additional 12 months:
- Richmond Valley
- Clarence Valley
- Port Macquarie
- Mid Coast
- Glen Innes Severn
- Blue Mountains
- Bega Valley
- Snowy Monaro
- Snowy Valleys
- New CRO for Mid-Western
Source: Australian Government