Bushfire community recovery officers in the Hawkesbury and Blue Mountains will have their terms extended for another 12 months and their services expanded to included flood recovery.
Federal emergency management minister David Littleproud and NSW deputy premier John Barilaro announced the 12-month extension on April 8.
The extension means community-based liaison officers are available to help bushfire and flood victims navigate immediate assistance, grants for household and structural repairs, and other recovery needs.
Minister Littleproud said local council-appointed CROs, together with the Commonwealth recovery officers, are well placed to understand disaster recovery within their communities - bushfire or flood.
"Having visited areas impacted by bushfires and now floods, I have seen firsthand the impacts of compounding trauma on communities," he said.
"We will continue to support bushfire affected communities as well as provide assistance where we can to those living with the aftermath of floods."
Federal Member for Macquarie Susan Templeman welcomed the announcement, with one caveat.
"I absolutely support the expansion of Community Recovery Officers' (CROs) work, but clearly they need to have additional resources to do it because the effects of the bushfires are still being felt," she said.
"You can't ask the same people to do more."
Deputy premier Barilaro said community recovery officers have been based in local councils for the past year, working extensively in bushfire impacted communities across NSW to provide tailored local support and coordination services between government, recovery organisations and individuals.
"The impacts of the floods and bushfires will be ongoing which is why it is crucial that we support communities for the long term. We will continue to deliver recovery support services for as long as they are needed," he said.
"Community Recovery Officers have been working across NSW, connecting people with everything from rebuilding advice to mental health support and community events. This extension will ensure they can continue assisting victims of natural disasters as the needs of communities evolve.
"The demand for services of our 22 community recovery officers is ongoing, especially with the additional challenges of floods and COVID-19.
Community recovery officers continue in the following local government areas for an additional 12 months:
- Richmond Valley
- Clarence Valley
- Port Macquarie
- Mid Coast
- Glen Innes Severn
- Blue Mountains
- Bega Valley
- Snowy Monaro
- Snowy Valleys
- New CRO for Mid-Western