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Mid North Coast Councils and NSW Government Agencies Collaborate on Future Disaster Preparedness

The Mid North Coast Joint Organisation (MNCJO) recently hosted a forum that brought senior
Councillors and staff of various mid north coast Councils, NSW Government agencies, schools
and other key agencies together. The purpose of the forum was to discuss the issues and
priorities needed to achieve future disaster preparedness in our local communities. The
coordination of this forum took place several months before the devastating fires that
impacted on the mid north coast and north coast of NSW, with the forum taking place towards
the end of November, just as local communities were dealing with the aftermath and recovery
from the recent fires.
Former NSW Fire and Rescue Commissioner Greg Mullins was invited to share his perspective
on the bushfire outlook, with his key message being that bushfire size, speed and intensity has
increased. Mr Mullins is a member of the Climate Council and Emergency Leaders for Climate
Action and said that this has been the most dangerous build-up to a fire season he’s seen since
1994, when NSW was previously devastated.
“It’s going to be harder in the future to fight these fires,” said Mr Mullins.
Following Mr Mullins presentation, participants discussed the lessons that could be learnt 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.
Media Release
The forum also explored the key concerns around fire response and recovery, issues that were
also discussed and identified at a recent risk reduction workshop held in Coffs Harbour.
Mayor of Kempsey Shire Council and Chair of the MNCJO, Liz Campbell specifically noted the
outstanding contribution of the Emergency Services and volunteer responders during the
recent bushfires, something that was acknowledged by all present, with a commitment that
collaboration would continue into the future to improve future disaster preparedness.
In early 2019, the MNCJO (with member Councils being Bellingen Shire Council, Kempsey Shire
Council and Port Macquarie-Hastings Council) determined that one of its key projects would be
the development of a Community Resilience Program. This program is now under
development, with assistance from the NSW Office of Emergency Management, who have
announced the placement of a Disaster Preparedness Officer in the mid north coast region for
up to two years, who will be hosted by the MNCJO and will work with all Councils along the
mid north coast in the development of suitable disaster preparedness programs for the local
community.

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