Commissioner Fitzsimmons and NSW deserve more than a wrecking-ball to state’s disaster response

As the New South Wales Government reviews recommendations to reportedly dismantle NSW Resilience and stand down its commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons, Australian Business Volunteers CEO Liz Mackinlay calls for deep reflection before wrecking-balls are sent.

“Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons is a leader of great integrity and demonstrated personal conviction as both 2021 NSW Australian of the Year and indeed former NSW Rural Fire Services commissioner,” Ms Mackinlay said.

“ABV’s experience of supporting recovery and resilience building confirms the need for innovative and non-traditional approaches to be embedded in governments strategic response. Commissioner Fitzsimmons professionalism should not be in question. Any review of NSW resilience requires deep consideration and pause before next actions are taken.

After working in disaster recovery in rural and regional New South Wales following the 2020 Black Summer bushfires and 2021 floods, ABV says that while scrutiny on past mistakes and errors is greatly needed, knee-jerk reactions are not.

“What we need is to develop a deep understanding of what went wrong, and to listen carefully to stakeholders and communities to envisage how both traditional and importantly, non-traditional actors, can work together to avoid the same mistakes from happening again.

“The past three years have tested our understanding of disaster response. They’ve asked questions of each and every one of our emergency services from SES, to Rural Fire Services, Police, Ambulance, Fire and Rescue and beyond. The answers lay in empowering communities in their own resilience planning; in supporting community in participating in response; and in enabling strong community owned recovery.

“These climate fuelled disasters pressures are expected to only increase over the coming years, and our communities deserve a Cabinet and Government response that invests in an evidence-based innovative approach that doesn’t revert back to outdated practices.”

Media contact:

Emma Lang, 0420 311 288

More on Australian Business Volunteers (ABV)

ABV builds on Australia’s long history of volunteering both across our region and at home in times of disaster and community need. We work at the intersection between business and community for resilience and community-led growth.

ABV is a team of several hundred Skilled Business Professionals (SBPs) enabled by a small salaried team. Together we source opportunities throughout Asia Pacific and in Australia to work in partnership with corporates and deliver impactful corporate social responsibility programs. We guarantee sustainable outcomes for communities, through strengthening small businesses and not for profits, leading to poverty alleviation. With 40 years’ experience across Australia, Asia and Pacific, ABV is focused on programs that produce outcomes, positive stories of change for the small businesses and not-for-profits that our Skilled Business Professionals and staff support through transferring Australian business know-how and experience.

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