Waste officer helps out bushfire affected NSW Council

Noosa Council Waste Coordinator Ian Florence is taking his wealth of disaster recovery experience to a small council west of Canberra, ravaged by the recent bushfires.

Mr Florence has been seconded to Snowy Valleys Council in Tumut, to assist in the recovery process.

“It’s certainly going to be quite emotional but equally rewarding,” Mr Florence said.

“I was approached by CEO Brett de Chastel and asked whether I would be willing to use my experience and provide assistance,

“Needless to say I jumped at the opportunity,”

Mr Florence boasts 22 years’ experience in dealing with public health and waste management in disaster situations.

He’s worked in disaster recovery for Cyclone Yasi in 2011 and Cyclone Larry in 2006, overseeing the public health response, including water, waste and mosquito control.

He was an integral part of the Noosa Council team that worked on disaster recovery for last year’s Peregian and Cooroibah bushfires.

“What many of the NSW towns have been through is heartbreaking, so this is certainly going to be at another level.

“It’s quite satisfying to be able to help out in this small way and use your experience to produce some tangible outcomes for those severely affected.” Mr Florence said.

Noosa CEO Brett de Chastel said the secondment came about through a personal approach to the Snowy Valleys Council CEO.

“I reached out and asked if they needed a hand given what those Councils and communities have been going through with their massive fires and they asked for assistance with their disaster recovery.

“Many of the smaller councils have been overwhelmed by the enormity of the fires, so we can lend a hand to help them recover based on our own experience with our fires last year,” Mr de Chastel said.

Snowy Valleys Council, 100 kilometres east of Wagga Wagga, has a population of about 14,000 and was one of the areas in the middle of the NSW mega-fire.

“We’ve experienced our own heartbreak on a much smaller scale last year and it’s great that we can ease their stress and anxiety by providing resources where practical.”

Mr Florence left for Canberra on Thursday and will spend two weeks in a relief role as their Disaster Recovery Co-ordinator.

Audio – Ian Florence – Waste Coordinator

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