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Editorial Jan 31st 2020

Welcome to this week’s editorial, As we approach another weekend of uncertainty with expected high temperatures and fresh northerly winds we can only hope that the past two events of New Year and January 23rd have seen some issues ironed out in readiness for what might happen over the next few days.

Eurobodalla Councillors finally met on Tuesday to receive a 1.5 hour debriefing from staff. While the briefing was only for councillors, Councilor Pat McGinlay offered a brief synopsis advising that nothing in the briefing was confidential.

Clr McGinlay advised “The GM chaired the briefing and advised that it would be strictly for 1.5 hours, that there was no need for councillors to take notes as someone else was taking them and that questions should be kept to a minimum and that what was requested was that we primarily listen.”

“So it was essentially as the name suggests, a briefing, not a meeting or a forum for open discussion. Several senior staff, primarily the four directors, but with a few others such as the communications spokesperson, and insurance officer, had their 10 minutes or so of allocated time to update councillors as to the fire situation and what had been done about it to date from their respective areas of responsibility.

“They did so capably and frankly (as far as I am aware) and necessarily succinctly given the time allowed. A key point stressed throughout was that this was an ongoing emergency situation ( even as recovery efforts for the many already seriously affected, were underway) as the fires are still live in several areas and that we could expect further damage and disruption within the Shire as the fire season continues.”

“Homes / residences lost within the Shire were currently estimated at just over 500.

“We councillors will henceforth now receive a weekly briefing specifically on the fire emergency, until such time as it is no longer at that status. Any decisions made unilaterally by the Mayor under legal emergency provisions during the past 4 weeks will be put to councillors for endorsement at our next council meeting.”

“I will leave it at that, as I did not take notes; I am sure there will be more official detailed communications and press releases coming out from Council’s communication team presently and for as long as we remain in this period of uncertainty.”

“I am sure other councillors, all of whom attended for all, or most of the briefing, (bar one with good reasons for their absence) will have a recollection of other points they thought more pertinent or worthy of comment. Cheers, Pat”

There has been a deafening silence from Eurobodalla Council over recent weeks so this insight from Councillor McGinlay is very much appreciated.

Stay safe Lei

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