VISIT: Janelle Saffin visited Nimbin Showground on Sunday, stopping by the Lismore Salvation Army tent, who were catering for fire evacuees. She is pictured here with Lieutenant Philip Sutcliffe.
VISIT: Janelle Saffin visited Nimbin Showground on Sunday, stopping by the Lismore Salvation Army tent, who were catering for fire evacuees. She is pictured here with Lieutenant Philip Sutcliffe. Contributed

Bring in the Defence forces to help with fires: Lismore MP

LISMORE MP Janelle Saffin has thanked the RFS volunteers, police and emergency agencies for their efforts in protecting communities threatened by the Mount Nardi National Park bushfire.

On Sunday Ms Saffin visited the Nimbin Showground evacuation centre to offer practical and moral support to residents who had left their homes with the current conditions and ahead of forecast extreme weather conditions today.

Ms Saffin thanked the Salvation Army, Anglicare and community volunteers.

The MP welcomed the NSW Government's appointment of Euan Ferguson AFSM as the Recovery Leader to oversee rebuilding of fire-ravaged communities on the North and Mid-North Coast regions - a move she said she has been consistently calling for more than a month.

"Well before the onset of these unprecedented and catastrophic which broke out across the state on Friday and continue to burn, I also called for a community recovery fund that can be part of Category C assistance. God knows our fire-impacted farmers could do with a bit of cash," Ms Saffin said.

"I welcome the State Government resources that already have been allocated to local councils to help the clean-up.

"However, we are still waiting for this fund to be activated and it must come quickly to help Lismore City Council, Tenterfield Shire Council, Richmond Valley and Clarence Valley councils, and now Glen Innes-Severn Council, to support their local communities with the recovery effort.

"We are now moving into potential Category D territory, so we seek guarantees from NSW and Australian governments that the 'fund first, justify later' approach will be adopted for local councils faced with this disaster."

Ms Saffin said she has asked the NSW Minister for Emergency Services David Elliott to consider if a request should be made to our Australian Defence Force reservists and personnel for the recovery.

She said "while they are not fireys, they have many other skills and equipment which could prove extremely useful".

She said she also asked for the recovery leader to be able to brief all MPs with fire-affected electorates.

"Now is the time as well to be planning for these ongoing conditions, and have a strategic plan in place to marshall and deploy resources," she said.

"I have stayed in regular contact with my State Parliamentary Leader Jodi McKay and Shadow Minister for Emergency Services Trish Doyle, as well as Federal ones.

"In these situations we all work together to support our communities."

Ms Saffin thanked the Nimbin Show Society for opening its gates to residents needing temporary shelter and applauded firefighters' efforts to safeguard the ABC North Coast transmitter site on Mount Nardi, vital for updating the latest bushire information across the region.

She also thanked Lismore Show Society for its kind offer to be on stand-by for any Nimbin area residents who might want to set up camp within the Lismore Showgrounds until the current danger period passed.


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