National Bushfire Recovery co-ordinator Andrew Colvin with Kangaroo Island farmer Sam Mumford. Picture by Sean McGowan for The Australian
National Bushfire Recovery co-ordinator Andrew Colvin with Kangaroo Island farmer Sam Mumford. Picture by Sean McGowan for The Australian

‘We will not let our community be forgotten’

FIRE impacted areas of Richmond Valley will not be forgotten, the council's general manager Vaughan Macdonald said.

The prime minister's newly appointed National Bushfire Recovery co-ordinator Andrew Colvin was supposed to visit the Richmond Valley region on Thursday, February 27 but his visit was postponed.

A spokesman for Mr Colvin said he was looking forward to visiting the Richmond Valley, however, urgent meetings in Canberra resulted in a last-minute change of plans.

"Mr Colvin and other senior agency representatives are planning on visiting the Richmond Valley next week," the spokesman said.

Richmond Valley Council general manager Vaughan Macdonald was ready for the visit.

"We are in regular communications with a range of government agencies at very senior levels and Richmond Valley Council will not let our community be forgotten," Mr Macdonald said.

"People need to understand the scale of the disaster south of Sydney and that it only happened six weeks ago so understandably there has been a need to focus some resources there as well."

Upon taking on the role on January 5, Mr Colvin said he was broken-hearted by the loss of life, the devastation to communities, the casualties of livestock and wildlife and the immense pain and suffering of so many fellow Australians.

"The impacts are so widespread that most of us will either have been affected in some way, or at least know someone who has been affected," he said.

"Solutions to rebuild, repair and re-establish must be designed and delivered with community at their heart."

When Mr Colvin visits an area, "the on-the-ground engagement was crucial to develop an informed national bushfire recovery plan."

"We try to amplify our trips so that we may meet with as many community representatives as possible to ensure the co-ordinator gets a range of views and important information," the government spokesman said.

Mr Macdonald said since the disaster on October 8, the council has worked hand-in-hand with the NSW Office of Emergency Management and other agencies to direct essential services and support where it is needed.

"We have assigned a recovery manager to the process of liaising with government and the community about what support is needed and a developing rebuilding strategy for the future," he said.

The council has released Rebuilding the Richmond Valley: Community Revitalisation Plan which includes a community centre, sewage works, water bores, pathways and more for fire impacted areas.

"Council is also in the process of applying for multiple grants under the Regional Tourism Bushfire Recovery Package recently announced by the Federal Government.," Mr Macdonald said.


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