Empowering South Coast communities to be more bushfire-prepared and resilient
The Black Summer bushfires of 2019-20 took a heavy toll on many South Coast communities. Shattered families lost homes and loved ones to the disaster. Vulnerable populations of native animal species were decimated and large swaths of precious habitat were burned.
As Shoalhaven Mayor, Amanda stood shoulder to shoulder with communities as they fought the fires, rebuilt their homes and lives and recovered from the trauma of one of the greatest disasters in the region’s history.
Under Amanda’s leadership, Shoalhaven City Council secured record bushfire resilience funding to support the long process of recovery, and to ensure communities are better prepared for the next fire season. This included more than $45 million in NSW Government stimulus money to help bushfire-impacted businesses to get back on their feet. Strong strategic planning and preparation meant Council was one of the first cabs off the rank when grants became available.
In the aftermath of the fires, Amanda was instrumental in making sure residents had Council support to turn to for best practice advice on how to better protect themselves from bushfire in the future and rebuild their homes safely. She has also worked with local Aboriginal Elders and community members to understand how cultural burning practices can be better used to reduce the severity and intensity of fires. Amanda also drove the roll-out of digital community information hubs across the region.
But there is so much more that needs to be done to make South Coast communities more bushfire resilient.
If elected to represent South Coast in the NSW Parliament, one of Amanda’s top priorities will be pushing the next government to better resource the Rural Fire Service’s Planning Team. This small group has a critical role to play in producing fire plans to keep residents safe. They desperately need more people on the ground to clear the huge backlog of fire plans before the next bushfire season hits.
Amanda will also push to better resource isolated communities with information, firefighting and communications equipment as well as critical supplies for survival. She will also be driving the next government to do more to tackle climate change – the key contributor to more dangerous bushfire seasons.