NSW Premier Mike Baird has announced the appointment of Retired Brigadier Darren Naumann as the Regional Recovery Coordinator for the Hunter and Central Coast floods.
Mr Baird and Emergency Services Minister David Elliott also announced the government has put in place legal protections to ensure emergency services volunteers involved in storm recovery operations are not penalised by their employer for giving up their time.
As Regional Recovery Coordinator, Brigadier Naumann will take the lead in the flood and storm recovery at regional level.
“The recovery work of the State Emergency Service and other agencies since the ravaging storms that gripped the eastern parts of our State last week has been outstanding,” Mr Baird said.
“But there are still communities under severe duress, and I want to make sure that the recovery effort is as coordinated and effective as possible.
“Brigadier Darren Naumann is the ideal person to make that happen, and I am deeply thankful that he has accepted this appointment.”
Brigadier Naumann will work closely with local recovery efforts and will focus on the damage the floods have inflicted on the community, the economy, infrastructure and the environment.
Specifically, he will form and chair the Regional Recovery Committee, which will include representatives from the affected Councils and key government agencies such as the SES, Police, Family and Community Services, Health, Transport and others.
A major part of his work will be engaging with communities and businesses to understand their needs and make sure that progress with the recovery is understood.
As a priority, he will ensure the opening of two Recovery Centres, one at Dungog and one at Maitland. Recovery Centres are one-stop shops where people affected by the storms and floods can go for information and assistance from a variety of agencies. He will make recommendations as to whether further centres are required, or on alternative means of supporting communities.
Brigadier Naumann will provide a report after three months on the progress of the recovery.
The order signed by the Premier to protect volunteers in certain local government areas will be in force for one month and ensure they are not victimised by their employers, such as being terminated or having their employment conditions altered, for giving up their time.
“Our response to this emergency, and clean-up operations, would not be possible without the thousands of volunteers who rally to assist the community in times of crisis,” Mr Elliott said.
"While most employers do the right thing and support their employees' service to the community, this order is designed to give our volunteers peace of mind that their regular job is safe while they are involved in essential emergency service work.”