Council staff on duty with Bushfire Assist

Group of people with certificate presentation

Wednesday, 12 February 2020

Penrith City Council has been recognised by the Australian Army at its employer appreciation event at Holsworthy Barracks for the services of Army Reservists on staff at Council.

For the first time in Australia’s history, the Governor-General of Australia, His Excellency General the Honourable David Hurley AC DSC (Retd), approved the Call Out of Australian Army Reservists to provide additional support to state and local authorities to assist fire-affected areas.

Reservists have been involved in supporting fire break tasks, clearing debris and fallen trees, and assist civilian authorities with door knocking and evacuation support in directly threatened areas.

Operation Bushfire Assist was enacted by the Australian Defence Force (ADF) in response to a worsening bushfire threat that has dominated the landscape of the Blue Mountains, the North and South Coasts along with the nation’s capital.

In addition to Reservists a number of Penrith Council staff are Rural Fire Service and State Emergency Service volunteers and have seen active service as the state is gripped with an unprecedented fire emergency.

Penrith Mayor Ross Fowler OAM said Council’s contribution to the emergency response has seen it offer support in a variety of ways.

“The coordinated response by Council staff has been tremendous throughout the bushfires,” Cr Fowler said.

“We have quite a number of staff who are volunteers with their local brigades assisting with the bushfire efforts along with SES volunteers too.

“Operationally, Council has been able to send specialist staff to Blue Mountains City Council where they have worked together to provide essential services to residents and ensure the safety of the community.”

The call out for Reservists has since been revoked, coming into effect February 7, 2020 where numbers will be reduced while the ADF will continue to directly support bushfire affected communities with its full-time forces and volunteer reserves.

Photo caption: Major General Kathryn Campbell, AO, CSC, Brigadier Mick Garraway, AM and Rear Admiral Brett Wolski AM pictured with Council’s Security and Emergency Management Coordinator, Laurence Cafarella.

Information contained within this news release was correct as at Wednesday, 12 February 2020.