Community Leaders Forum Meeting Summary – 21 September 2023
Community Leaders Forum 21/09/2023
The RA hosts a regular Community Leaders Forum of local MPs and Mayors to help guide future decisions about recovery and reconstruction and ensure discussions are informed by community needs and driven by local community leaders.
Summaries of the meetings are being shared to provide the local community with information about the ongoing recovery program in the Northern Rivers. These summaries reflect the views of community leaders and are not to be considered as NSW Government policy.
At its meeting on Thursday 21 September, forum members were briefed on Telstra’s disaster management initiatives. Following recent disasters across the country, Telstra has worked to make sure its teams are better prepared and ready to support communities. Satellite cells on wheels, mobile exchanges on wheels and mobile repeaters can all be deployed by Telstra after a disaster to restore the network faster and open up vital communication channels. A key priority for Telstra is to make sure that the network is open and available to everyone during emergencies. All members agreed to engage further with Telstra to make sure specific local challenges were addressed.
Members also discussed the recent state budget. The group received an update on the funding allocated to both disaster management and recovery funding and agreed to continue advocating strongly for more funding for recovery efforts in the Northern Rivers.
Members also asked for more information on the Infrastructure Betterment Fund including an update on which projects received funding.
The Reconstruction Authority briefed members on the work underway to develop the draft State Disaster Mitigation Plan (SDMP). The SDMP will be the first state-wide disaster mitigation plan in NSW and is planned to be released later this year. Following its release, the next stage will be development of local disaster adaptation plans across the state, including the Northern Rivers region. The SDMP briefing included an overview of what’s included in the plan and options to reduce our risk and vulnerability to natural disasters.
Finally, members received an update on the next community doorknock which took place on 26 and 27 September in Woodburn, Coraki and Broadwater. Community leaders asked the RA to kickstart this program earlier this month and future visits are planned for LGAs across the region including Tweed, Byron/Kyogle, Ballina/Lismore, Clarence Valley.