The NSW State Emergency Service (NSW SES) has officially commenced operations in the newly created North Eastern Zone.
In June 2022, the NSW Government announced a $132.7M investment into SES facilities, resources and staffing. As part of this funding, the NSW SES split its Northern and Western Zones, effectively creating two additional zones to service regional communities.
The North Eastern Zone, which covers Tweed Heads in the north to Urunga (south of Coffs Harbour) in the south, will be led by Chief Superintendent Greg Swindells, who previously led Greater Sydney as Zone Commander Metro Zone.
Minister for Emergency Services and Resilience Steph Cooke said the creation of the new zone is an exciting step forward for residents in the north eastern part of the State.
“Supporting our volunteers at a local level is a crucial part of us moving forward, particularly after the intense flooding we experienced early last year,” Ms Cooke said.
“The additional zone will create more local jobs for local people, allowing us to support the community while also harnessing the local knowledge of those who are familiar with the area.”
The new North Eastern Zone will be supported by more than more than 20 additional regional staff between Grafton and Goonellabah. While the Northern Rivers based zone staff will occupy a temporary site at Goonellabah, there are plans underway to build a fit-for-purpose level three incident control centre in the Northern Rivers.
NSW SES Acting Commissioner Damien Johnston said the SES is committed to providing the highest level of service to the NSW community.
“The creation of a level three incident control centre ensures local SES staff, as well as our partner agencies, have the resources at their fingertips to deal with any situation they might come across,” Acting Commissioner Johnston said.
“Work has already commenced on building a strong team of local staff to manage incidents throughout the zone, and provide the best support we possibly can to our fantastic SES volunteers and the wider community.
The NSW Government has committed $43 million to establish and staff these two new operational zones. The new zone headquarters project, valued at $11.7 million, will fund the two new Level 3 Incident Control Centres that will be established in each of the zones.