Wingecarribee Shire Council’s Interim Administrator Viv May has announced that a specialist risk consultant has been engaged to undertake an independent review into Council’s response following the 2019/20 Black summer bushfires.
Mr May made the announcement during Council’s Ordinary Meeting of Wednesday 9 June 2021.
“At the previous Council Meeting I commented that I would be seeking a ‘warts and all’ report into Council’s immediate response to the bushfires and ongoing recovery actions,” Mr May said.
“Following further consideration and discussions, and to ensure that there is no potential or perceived conflict of interest from staff, I have recommended that an independent review into Council’s handling of the aftermath of the bushfires be the most suitable course of action.”
Mr Dave Owens from Risk-e Business Consultants will undertake the review.
Mr Owens is a former Deputy Commissioner of the NSW Police Force with 30 years of service. He has also been a State and Regional Recovery Coordinator and has extensive knowledge into the establishment and running of Recovery Committees and funding applications. Mr Owens was involved in the NSW Government’s Independent Bushfire Inquiry which resulted in 76 recommendations.
Mr May reiterated that the report would focus on Council’s response to the bushfires only.
“While I will be seeking input from the NSW Rural Fire Service and Resilience NSW, the report will not look at the actions of any other agencies.
“Not-for-profit organisations will also be approached as they too played an important role both during and after the bushfires,” Mr May added.
The independent review will focus on Council’s immediate response to the bushfire emergency including support for impacted residents. Council’s short-term recovery response, establishment of recovery committees, long-term recovery plans, applications for State and Federal funding and effectiveness of the Mayoral Relief Fund will also be examined.
Community workshops may be organised throughout the course of the review.
“The purpose of this review is to ensure that should the Shire ever be faced by a similar threat we will be best prepared to respond and meet the needs of our community.”
A draft report from Risk-e Business Consultants will be returned to Council by the end of July 2021.