A tale of two cities: It's like chalk and cheese
I read your editorial of 7th July concerning emergency preparedness in the Eurobodalla Shire Council with great interest and concern, as have many other local residents.
I then decided to follow up to see what current emergency planning documents applied in the Eurobodalla, given the current 2022-2023 Eurobodalla Shire Council Performance Plan signed off by Mayor Hatcher and GM Warwick Winn indicates one of the targets to be achieved by June 2023 is a Risk Strategy to deliver "Increased satisfaction with the long-term planning of Eurobodalla", as part of the long term goal to "Be an agile organisation that champions continuous improvement and efficiencies".
However, it would seem that ESC continues to be asleep at the wheel regarding emergency planning in our LGA, as I have downloaded both the CURRENT sub-region Fire and Flood Plans for the Eurobodalla, and they BOTH predate the Back Summer bushfires and subsequent recent floods. The Eurobodalla Emergency Plan is dated September 2019, and is required to be reviewed every 3 years, and so is already overdue for renewal. Unfortunately, it is the same substandard document that ”informed" our shambolic local response during the Black Summer Fires in 2019-2020.
In addition, the Eurobodalla Flood Plan is even more antiquated (approved in 2013!) than the bushfire plan, even though the flood plan states it is required to be reviewed every 5 years. In contrast, the local flood plans for the neighbouring Shoalhaven Council and Bega Valley Shires are both current, being signed off in 2022 and 2021 respectively.
There is also a significant difference evident in the attitude to public communication of emergency information between the Eurobodalla and neighbouring Shoalhaven shires. The Eurobodalla Emergency plan refuses to even divulge the location of evacuation centres to the community, as outlined in the following extract :
In stark contrast, Shoalhaven Council produces documents for distribution to the local community, visitors and tourist establishments which (shock, horror!) actually informs the community where evacuation centres are located, as evident in this extract from the Shoalhaven All Hazards Info Guide:
On the basis of the above, I think it is clear that ESC is not achieving the stated aim in its 2022-2023 Performance Plan to deliver "Increased satisfaction with the long-term planning of Eurobodalla", as part of the long term goal to "Be an agile organisation that champions continuous improvement and efficiencies".
Council clearly needs to lift its game in this area, and not just deliver “more of the same” as our community moves into a more hazardous and threatening future.
Above: Meanwhile in the Shoalhaven: All Hazards Info Guide Shoalhaven City Council is part of the Local Emergency Management. Committee (LEMC). This booklet provides basic emergency management information for tourist operators in the Shoalhaven. As a tourist operator you can help by offering support to visitors and the community in the event of an emergency.