This summer of bushfires has pushed the drought off the agenda for many councils around Australia. However it’s difficult to think of one without the other.
The world has been generous with its sympathy and support as the horror and terror was beamed around the world.
With such volumes of donations coming through it is important that the right help is given where it is needed. Already opportunistic scammers and looters have cashed in on the disaster.
Once again councils have come to the fore demonstrating leadership backed by local knowledge and understanding. They have stood shoulder to shoulder with their communities to face down the flames; they have kept communication channels open relaying information both into and out of isolated and cut off areas; they have helped coordinate the firefighting efforts and relief efforts. And now they will be on the front line as we walk the road to recovery.
Those councils not directly affected, many of which have been there before, have been quick to offer support organising fodder for stock, loans of earthmoving and other equipment, the gift of willing hands to keep emergency services workers fed or assist with clearing an access road.
State Associations have raised money, coordinated the match up of things needed with things donated, help manage relief and recovery efforts.
The federal Government’s immediate assistance package to 42 Local Government Areas will support councils to get communities started on the recovery process. And because we live in a land of extremes we won’t have to reinvent the wheel. The lessons learned in the floods from Cyclone Debbie and those before and after, the Black Saturday fires and the ongoing drought, to name but a few, must be used to do it better this time.
LG Focus December issue told the story of the successful recovery program run by Bega Valley Shire Council in response to the Tathra and Yankees Gap bushfires in 2018. Little did they realise they would be sent back to square one with their own recovery to start rebuilding again from the ground up.