A State Recovery Coordinator will be appointed to oversee the clean up and recovery effort after the devastating storm that battered the state over the weekend.
NSW Premier Mike Baird today announced retired NSW Police Deputy Commissioner Dave Owens would take up the role.
“This was a ferocious storm that has devastated communities, washing away beaches, flooding inland areas and inundating businesses,” Mr Baird said.
“Emergency services and volunteers have been doing an incredible job since the storm began last Friday. I want to ensure their efforts are coordinated in a way that allows communities to rebuild and recover as quickly as possible.
“Mr Owens is the best person to lead this response effort. He has experience handling numerous disasters and major events during his distinguished policing career and I thank him for accepting this appointment.”
Deputy Premier Troy Grant said Mr Owens served the public for more than 30 years as a NSW Police officer, including as Deputy Commissioner, before retiring in 2012.
He was the State Emergency Operations Controller for almost four years until August 2011 and led the state’s response and emergency personnel deployment for Victoria’s Black Saturday bushfires, Christchurch’s earthquake and Japan’s tsunami.
“Mr Owens has been in the thick of responding to some of the biggest and most challenging natural disasters we’ve seen in recent times,’’ Mr Grant said.
“He’s well-equipped to respond to this disaster that has caused loss of life and devastated so many people in NSW.”
Minister for Emergency Services David Elliott said: “Mr Owens will also prepare a report on the recovery within three months, which we’ll consider for future emergency management in NSW.”
The Premier also signed an order to protect volunteers to ensure they aren’t victimised by their employers, such as being terminated or having their employment conditions altered, for giving up their time. The order will be in force for one month.