John Barilaro will be the minister responsible for disaster recovery, leading recovery efforts following the bushfires across NSW.
Mr Barilaro is also the NSW Deputy Premier, Minister for Regional NSW and Member for Monaro. He was tasked by NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian to ensure communities impacted by bushfires recover and rebuild as quickly as possible.
Mr Barilaro told Region Media the bushfires have had a devastating impact on families, communities and a number of industries across NSW.
“The people of regional NSW are hurting,” Mr Barilaro said. “From apple orchards in Bilpin, timber mills in northern and southern NSW, through to tourism operators in the Blue Mountains, Snowy Mountains and the north and south coasts, the impact has spread far and wide.
“We still have communities on edge and they are all very tired, but these are incredibly resilient communities. My number one priority is getting back some sort of normality to these communities so we can get on and start rebuilding.”
Mr Barilaro has been traversing much of southern NSW with Member for Bega Andrew Constance, talking with emergency services personnel and community members affected by the fires.
“There’s no arguing that it’s been a tough and challenging time for communities across NSW and in the Monaro. We still have active fires burning in the electorate, but we have some of the best emergency service personnel available.
“I’ve had the honour of visiting many of these crews and on behalf of the community, I am so thankful for the work they do. It’s a difficult time for many in the Monaro, but we’re a strong community and we will get through it,” Mr Barilaro said.
“There is no doubt we have a big task ahead but I am 100 per cent committed to getting our communities back on their feet.
“I’m on the ground speaking to communities about what they need to move forward. We need to ensure support is available to families and industries that have been affected by these fires so that we can move forward and rebuild.”
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian, who has also been touring the state, said emergency services personnel and volunteers have been outstanding in dealing with the bushfire emergency.
“Our government’s focus is to get the clean-up underway, ensure residents and businesses receive the support they need and to rebuild the infrastructure destroyed or damaged,” Ms Berejiklian said.
Mr Barilaro also thanked firefighters, volunteers and community members who have helped during the bushfire.
“It has been heartening to see the community rally together and help each other through this challenging time,” Mr Barilaro said.
“On behalf of the Monaro community, thank you for going above and beyond despite the tough and gruelling conditions.”