Government extends Phil Koperberg's bushfire role

Phil Koperberg will stay on in his role as Blue Mountains bushfire recovery co-ordinator for another two weeks, the State Government announced on Thursday afternoon (January 30).

Mr Koperberg, who has headed up the bushfire recovery committee since the day after the October 17 fires, was due to finish up on January 31 - a decision that drew the ire of Blue Mountains mayor Mark Greenhill who accused the government of "abandonment".

Clr Greenhill cautiously welcomed the announcement on Thursday afternoon.

"This extension is better than nothing but it is not long enough," he said. "It is hard to imagine we will be able to secure funding and effect a full transition plan in that short period.

"However, it is better than seeing him removed on the 31st. At least we can have more of a handover than would have been the case."

NSW Police and Emergency Services Minister Mike Gallacher said the extension will "assist in the transition phase".

"Phil was appointed to the position of recovery co-ordinator in October with a specific brief to chair the recovery committee and support the effective roll out of the Commonwealth and NSW Governments' recovery packages," he said.

"Both these tasks have now reached important milestones and through Phil's commitment and efforts we are now ready to move into the next phase for the Blue Mountains."

Mr Gallacher has appointed Feargus O'Connor, an executive director in the Ministry for Police and Emergency Services, to support the work of the council in the recovery process.

"The appointment of Mr O'Connor will allow the government to continue supporting the Blue Mountains Council in the recovery process. Mr O'Connor will also ensure that NSW Government agency support is well co-ordinated," he said.

Mr O'Connor will work with the council's general manager and staff on the transition and will ensure the work programs under the recovery committee move forward, he said.

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