Councillors briefed on disaster preparations

Published: 18 September 2023

State government emergency managers from across the region gathered in Moruya last week to update councillors on disaster preparation planning in Eurobodalla.

Representatives from the State Emergency Service, Community and Justice, Rural Fire Service, Police and the Health Department joined a round table meeting, called by council general manager Warwick Winn, where councillors were briefed on how emergency planning and response is undertaken. Councillors also had the opportunity to question how agencies are preparing for possible events this summer such as heatwaves, floods and fires.

The briefing took place as Eurobodalla Council advertises for its first full-time Local Emergency Management Officer.

Councillors took the opportunity to highlight community concerns around heat havens and the risk of significant bushfires.

There was consensus from the emergency management officers that the community was more aware of the importance of being prepared for natural disasters, following three difficult years.

The RFS advised that the organisation expected a ‘typical’ summer bushfire risk for Eurobodalla, with the large areas burnt in 2019/20 still affording the shire some protection. Councillors were told that individuals and communities need to take responsibility for preparing their own properties as it is simply “not possible to put a fire truck on every single lawn”.

Councillors asked about the need for new heat havens but were told by officials that there were already many existing places available to the community that could be used for relief during heat waves - for example RSLs, bowling clubs, shopping centres and libraries. There was agreement from the experts that there was no immediate need to be putting extra funding, extra time and extra resources into opening areas that might only get used by a few people. NSW Health are a great source of information with regards to coping with higher temperatures.

Eurobodalla Mayor Mathew Hatcher said the briefing was an excellent opportunity for councillors to understand how state government agencies prepare for emergencies and how that aligns with the work Council has done since the 2019/20 fires to prepare for natural disasters.

“I encourage every single person to sit down and work through a bushfire plan for their property. But remember, while we expect a hotter and drier summer this year, no-one is predicting a repeat of three years ago.

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