The seed of an idea by Lismore MP, Janelle Saffin, during the flood disasters in Lismore is set to become law and a new body tasked with the prevention, preparation, recovery, and reconstruction for the impact of all disasters in New South Wales will be created.
The NSW Reconstruction Authority is modelled on the Queensland Reconstruction Authority.
The Authority will have the following functions and powers:
- Facilitate the protection, recovery, and reconstruction of affected communities;
- Mitigate against the impacts of potential disasters on communities; and,
- Improve the resilience and adaptability of affected communities to potential disasters.
The Authority will deal with natural disasters such as bushfires, floods, earthquakes, landslides, heatwaves, severe thunderstorms, tornadoes, and tsunamis. Hazards caused by natural disasters, including air pollution, water and soil contamination and water insecurity will also be within the Authority’s remit.
Natural disasters are becoming more frequent, more intense, wreaking more damage than ever before, and causing more loss of life.
Disasters are having a bigger impact on regional and rural areas of the state, like Lismore.
The recovery and reconstruction from disasters in areas like Lismore is hampered by constraints on labour and construction material supply.
NSW Labor has supported the creation of the NSW Reconstruction Authority and moved a series of amendments to improve the governance, transparency, and oversight arrangements associated with it.
Shadow Minister for Planning and Public Spaces, Paul Scully, paid tribute to the Member for Lismore for her efforts in convincing the Government to proceed with the legislation.
“Janelle Saffin is the real champion of this legislation, and the creation of the NSW Reconstruction Authority is an important legacy, she and the Lismore community can be proud of.
“It’s off the back of the tragic and challenging experiences of the Lismore community, devastated by flooding, that Janelle saw first-hand, and felt the need for New South Wales to do far, far better in the recovery from disasters and the creation of the NSW Reconstruction Authority will go a long way to achieving that”, he said.
Member for Lismore Janelle Saffin said “When the catastrophic floods hit the Northern Rivers region it was clear that we needed whole different way of what I call “doing disaster”.
“Since day one I have advocated for a NSW Reconstruction Authority modelled on the successful QLD Reconstruction Authority (QRA) – an overarching agency to guide preparedness, response, recovery, reconstruction, mitigation and transformational adaptation.
“For my community to have the best preparedness for and response to disasters—and there will be more—requires the State to have the best response to disasters.
“This historic bill heralds a wholesale change to the way in which New South Wales will deal with all disasters, not just floods,” Ms Saffin said.