In a media release issued by Jodi Mckay MP, NSW Labor Leader and Yasmin Catley, Shadow Minister For Rebuilding And Recovery they advise that the Premier, Gladys Berejiklian, has today admitted thousands of people may want to speak out about their experience of the bushfire crisis in a public inquiry while simultaneously ruling that opportunity out. It followed a question from NSW Labor Leader, Jodi McKay, who asked the Premier if she will hold public hearings in fire impacted communities. It came off the back of the Liberal Local Government Minster, Shelley Hancock, saying she didn’t support the inquiry being held behind closed doors. But instead of agreeing to hold an open and transparent probe, the Premier instead hinted that would in fact be too hard to coordinate. “If you were to hold public hearings that would be in the thousands of people," Ms Berejiklian said. Ms McKay labelled her comments as disappointing. “It is astonishing the Premier would take the easy option when investigating such a serious issue that will affect NSW for years to come,” Ms McKay said. “It is so important we get this inquiry right so we can learn the lessons, we can’t take any short cuts and I won’t stop calling for this inquiry to hold public hearings in fire impacted communities.” Labor Shadow Minister for Rebuilding and Recovery Yasmin Catley said it was unfair to expect residents to write a submission when many are trying to rebuild their lives while living in tents and caravans. “Bushfire communities deserve to have a voice, they deserve to share their story. People must not be limited to merely making written submissions – many people worst-hit by the bushfires do not have the resources or the time to write, and they would much prefer to tell their stories in person.” “It must not be a bureaucratic process based in Sydney; it needs to be opportunity for people to heal by telling their stories in the various places that were so badly affected.”
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