12 month extension for bushfire community recovery officers to help with flood recovery

Bushfire community recovery officers in the Blue Mountains and Hawkesbury will have their terms extended for another 12 months and their services expanded to included flood recovery.

Federal emergency management minister David Littleproud and NSW deputy premier John Barilaro announced the 12-month extension on April 8.

The extension means community-based liaison officers are available to help bushfire and flood victims navigate immediate assistance, grants for household and structural repairs, and other recovery needs.

Minister Littleproud said local council-appointed CROs, together with the Commonwealth recovery officers, are well placed to understand disaster recovery within their communities - bushfire or flood.

"Having visited areas impacted by bushfires and now floods, I have seen firsthand the impacts of compounding trauma on communities," he said.

"We will continue to support bushfire affected communities as well as provide assistance where we can to those living with the aftermath of floods."

Federal Member for Macquarie Susan Templeman and Emergency Management Minister David Littleproud speak with turf farmers affected by flooding in Freemans Reach on March 31.

Federal Member for Macquarie Susan Templeman and Emergency Management Minister David Littleproud speak with turf farmers affected by flooding in Freemans Reach on March 31.

Federal Member for Macquarie Susan Templeman welcomed the announcement, with one caveat.

"I absolutely support the expansion of Community Recovery Officers' (CROs) work, but clearly they need to have additional resources to do it because the effects of the bushfires are still being felt," she said.

"You can't ask the same people to do more."

State Blue Mountains MP Trish Doyle also welcomed the 12-month extension.


"As we know all too well, the effects of such disasters remain long after the flames have extinguished or the waters have receded," she said.


"I will be keeping a very close eye on the promises made by the government to ensure they are honoured and I encourage anyone in my community to reach out should they feel they are not receiving the support they need.


"Perhaps state-funded community recovery officer positions should be considered as a permanent fixture in local council offices. This is not an unreasonable expectation as we navigate the increasing and devastating effects of climate change."

Deputy premier Barilaro said community recovery officers have been based in local councils for the past year, working extensively in bushfire impacted communities across NSW to provide tailored local support and coordination services between government, recovery organisations and individuals.

"The impacts of the floods and bushfires will be ongoing which is why it is crucial that we support communities for the long term. We will continue to deliver recovery support services for as long as they are needed," he said.

"Community Recovery Officers have been working across NSW, connecting people with everything from rebuilding advice to mental health support and community events. This extension will ensure they can continue assisting victims of natural disasters as the needs of communities evolve.

"The demand for services of our 22 community recovery officers is ongoing, especially with the additional challenges of floods and COVID-19.

Flood damage: A landslide on the Bells Line of Road following the recent floods. Photo: NSW TRANSPORT MANAGEMENT CENTRE.

Flood damage: A landslide on the Bells Line of Road following the recent floods. Photo: NSW TRANSPORT MANAGEMENT CENTRE.

Community recovery officers continue in the following local government areas for an additional 12 months:

  1. Richmond Valley
  2. Clarence Valley
  3. Nambucca
  4. Kempsey
  5. Port Macquarie
  6. Mid Coast
  7. Walcha
  8. Armidale
  9. Glen Innes Severn
  10. Tenterfield
  11. Lithgow
  12. Hawkesbury
  13. Blue Mountains
  14. Cessnock
  15. Wollondilly
  16. Wingecarribee
  17. Queanbeyan-Palerang
  18. Shoalhaven
  19. Eurobodalla
  20. Bega Valley
  21. Snowy Monaro
  22. Snowy Valleys
  23. New CRO for Mid-Western