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July 20, 2024

Preparing Lismore for future floods

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In a significant step towards enhancing community resilience and emergency preparedness, Lismore City Council has created a new dedicated position of Emergency Management Coordinator to help prepare for future emergencies. 

Council’s newly appointed Emergency Management Coordinator Georgina Burgess. Phot supplied

This follows the NSW government’s recent announcement of a streamlined funding process aimed at expediting financial support for flood restoration efforts and signals a renewed sense of optimism and confidence in the future of Lismore. 

Understanding the evolving nature of emergency management challenges, Council is setting a precedent as one of the few councils nationally to dedicate full-time resources to this critical area.  

Lismore City Council General Manager Jon Gibbons said Emergency Management specialist Georgina Burgess has been appointed to the position bringing a wealth of experience to Lismore, with extensive expertise in environmental planning, resource management and emergency response.  

‘This strategic decision is informed by the extensive groundwork laid by Council’s Community Recovery Officers, appointed following the February 2022 natural disaster.  

‘These staff have played a pivotal role in rebuilding and strengthening community bonds, identifying gaps in current response strategies and collecting valuable insights for improving local disaster readiness.’

Although under NSW legislation, the SES is the lead agency during a weather/flood event with the NSW Rural Fire Service taking the lead during bushfires, Council is committed to enhancing preparedness for the Lismore community. This effort will ensure that Lismore is not only prepared to face future challenges but also positioned as a regional/state leader in emergency management practices.  

Collaboration with key stakeholders, including the Local Emergency Management Committee (LEMC) and regional planning bodies, will be a key part of Council’s approach to building the framework, and ensures a more coordinated approach to disaster response and resilience building. 

This appointment not only better positions Council for future challenges, it also demonstrates a proactive approach to protecting and empowering the Lismore community. Coupled with the streamlining of recovery funding and a heightened focus on emergency preparedness, confidence in Lismore is on the rise. 

‘Her recent tenure with Waikato Regional Council as the Regional Flood Liaison Officer has equipped her with a deep understanding of disaster preparedness and the importance of community-centric emergency management frameworks,’ Mr Gibbons said. 

‘Mrs Burgess’s role will focus on engaging with key stakeholders to develop a robust framework for disaster preparedness and response, aligning local initiatives with requirements under the Act as well as broader strategies such as those of the NSW Reconstruction.’

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