Nationals Minister for Emergency Services and Resilience Steph Cooke will be appointed the new Minister for Flood Recovery, demonstrating the NSW Government’s commitment to supporting communities through the ongoing flood crisis.
Ms Cooke will drive the recovery efforts, including clean-up, rebuilding and support programs, while ensuring the recovery process is coordinated, well-funded, and enacted swiftly.
Deputy Premier Paul Toole said Ms Cooke will work closely with her ministerial colleagues to coordinate the NSW Government’s multi-agency response for every city, town, and person impacted by this flood tragedy.
“Steph Cooke is a compassionate and caring Minister who will put our people and communities at the centre of the NSW Government’s recovery efforts,” Mr Toole said.
“Minister Cooke will oversee a number of initiatives aimed at helping our flood impacted communities recover, including wellness initiatives, clean-up efforts, rebuilding programs and infrastructure investments.”
Ms Cooke said she is truly humbled and honoured to be asked by the Premier and Deputy Premier to serve as the Minister for Flood Recovery.
“The challenges our flood affected communities are facing are enormous. From surviving the emergency to enduring the long road to recovery, the impacts of this unprecedented natural disaster will stretch into the future,” Ms Cooke said.
“I will be working every day and night to make sure affected communities bounce back as soon as possible.
“It is my privilege to lead a multi-agency response so that all parts of Government work cohesively to help our communities clean up, rebuild stronger and develop resilience for future natural disasters our State will face.”
The NSW Government has also stood up the Crisis Policy Committee which will be led by the Department of Premier and Cabinet Secretary and General Counsel.
In addition to Minister Cooke’s appointment, Gary McKinnon from Resilience NSW has been appointed the Northern NSW Recovery Coordinator and will work closely with Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons.
This committee is responsible for the overall policy direction in response to a crisis and enables key Ministers and senior officials to centrally coordinate strategic planning and public communications.
Ms Cooke has declared Natural Disasters in another 28 local government areas (LGAs) across our State.
Declaring a Natural Disaster means that a range of support is now available:
• Help for eligible people whose homes or belongings have been damaged (eligibility criteria apply).
• Support for local councils to help with the costs of cleaning up and restoring damaged essential public asset.
• One-off grants for small businesses, primary producers and non-profit organisations.
• Freight subsidies for primary producers.
A total of 45 LGAs are now eligible for this support.
Anyone who has been recently impacted by storms and flooding is being urged to contact Service NSW by calling 13 77 88 or going online to www.service.nsw.gov.au.