Mountains mayor slams decision not to extend Phil Koperberg's term

Blue Mountains mayor Mark Greenhill has slammed the NSW Government for not extending the term of bushfire recovery co-ordinator Phil Koperberg.

Mr Koperberg’s term will end on January 31 despite the mayor calling for it to be extended by at least one month.

“This action comes despite the fact that the funding for the council to take over the process has not been approved yet,” he said.

“There is no transition plan. No memorandum of understanding has been signed about what services the government may leave in place. 

“We are not even being given a handover with Phil. Indeed, he hardly has time to clean out his office.”

Blue Mountains City Council will take control of the bushfire recovery process following the decision.

“Council will put in place the best process it can but we don’t have the resources of the state, nor do we have jurisdiction over insurance, health, state building codes and trauma management,” said Clr Greenhill.

“The NSW Government is not supporting a recovery process post-January. They are affecting an abandonment. Council will not abandon the community. But we cannot do what a state can do.”

The Gazette contacted the office of NSW Police and Emergency Services Minister, Mike Gallacher, but did not get a response at the time of going to press.

A spokesman for the minister previously stated that “discussions [were] ongoing with the council to work out the best way forward”.

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