Bushfire recovery

Article image - Bushfire recovery Melinda Brooks.

Coffs Harbour City Council, New South Wales, has ensured the bushfire clean-up program remains a key priority with the appointment of a dedicated Bushfire Recovery Officer.

Melinda Brooks, a disaster recovery specialist who lived through the 2011 Margaret River bushfire, will be working with the Orara Valley community to support them as they move forward through the long-term recovery process.

General Manager, Steve McGrath, said, “While COVID-19 has been dominating headlines, I wanted to reassure the Orara Valley community that Coffs Harbour City Council continues to progress our bushfire recovery response.”

“From the very first discussions with local residents, it was clear that having an expert Recovery Officer available full-time was going to be massively important in helping people emerge from this disaster as strongly as possible and we’re delighted to have Melinda on board.”

The position is being funded from the $1.3 million bushfire recovery funds provided for the Coffs Harbour local government area by the federal and state governments.

“In my role as a Red Cross Emergency Services Volunteer I have been involved in both the initial response and recovery phases of the Liberation Trail fire in the Coffs Harbour and Clarence Valley area,” Brooks said.  

“While working with affected communities I have heard stories of trauma, survival and heartache, but also met everyday people who in time of need have done and continue to do extraordinary things for their communities.

“Having been through the 2011 Margaret River bushfire, I have an appreciation and understanding of the longevity, complexities and celebrations that people endure during the recovery process. I’m looking forward to walking alongside the Orara Valley
community on this journey.”