Council staff lauded for their efforts on frontline of bushfire disaster

Wagga Wagga City Council staff have been praised for their efforts supporting the bushfire effort.

Emergency services personnel and support agencies across the region remain on alert this weekend as the bushfire situation is expected to develop amid threatening weather conditions.

Wagga City Council will continue to contribute its ongoing support under the direction of Emergency Operations Management at centres in Tumut and Wagga.

Council staff has been heavily involved in frontline operations since 29 December as the Green Valley-Dunns Road bushfire intensified over the new year period.

Staff have contributed in various support roles involved the Evacuation Centre at Equex and also with animal care and accommodation, administration, communications, information technology, transport, airport operations, arboricultural services, traffic control, waste management, services at the Oasis and cultural centres, the Visitor Information Centre and in emergency office management.

Council Director Commercial Operations Caroline Angel said Council had committed a number of graders, water carts and experienced operators to the fire zones around Tumbarumba, Rosewood, Adelong/Tumut and in the Tarcutta/Westbrook Road area.

“The efforts of our people on the frontline of the fires has been exceptional,” Ms Angel said.

“Our people were doing enormous days for several days straight, and were back in the zone early this week after a brief stand down to address fatigue. We will continue to work this weekend.

“Council committed six graders and four water carts to this effort. We also had to be mindful to keep plant available closer to Wagga in the event of any emergency across the local area.”

Ms Angel said the decision to open the Multi Purpose Stadium as an Evacuation Centre at the Equex had proven to be the best option for such a facility.

“That decision was made early. It is an excellent space and it passed its first test as a set-up facility such as the evacuation centre … the agencies operating from there have praised the location, the large spaces and the facilities available inside the MPS,” Ms Angel said.

Council general manager Peter Thompson said the bushfires had highlighted the role local government performs in emergency situations.

“There are many agencies pulling together in these times with the community’s well-being their number one focus,” Mr Thompson said.

“Local government is involved at a significant level – from the frontline of the fire activity through to management and administration roles.”

Council’s Bob Osborne Skills Centre in Wagga has been utilised as an Emergency Operations Centre in the past week, in addition to the stadium at Equex being used as the evacuation centre.

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