11 August 2023

Wollondilly Shire Council has stepped up its ability to deliver services to those who need support, where they need support, in the event of natural disasters like bushfire and flood.

The local community had the opportunity to inspect the Resilient Wollondilly Van – one of the first in Australia – at the van’s launch at Picton Botanic Gardens on Thursday, 10 August.

The council will use the mobile recovery and resilience vehicle to provide immediate outreach support to residents and businesses immediately after the impacts of a severe weather event or disaster.

The van will be used to establish community recovery points, connect residents with essential services and supports, and distribute necessary short-term supplies.

Its customised fit-out provides storage and equipment, including solar panels, lithium battery, work station, satellite internet, fridge, defibrillator and generator, in addition to tea/coffee, hygiene packs, teddies, and information on support and services.

Deputy Mayor Matthew Deeth told the launch the van would be an invaluable resource for the Wollondilly community.

He said after the bushfires in 2019, “as always, our community rallied and were able to come and support all those who had lost their homes to get back on their feet very quickly.

“Out of that experience we saw an opportunity to deliver a recovery service more nimbly and to adapt and respond to any emergency that has hit the shire.”

Mr Deeth said it was critical that not only council services, but State Government services were delivered on the ground in real time.

“This is a model that can be used anywhere in Australia,” he said.

Anthony D’Adam MLC, Parliamentary Secretary for Emergency Services, launched the van saying there were so many communities across the state going through a process of recovery.

“Here in Wollondilly you’ve had flood and fires over the past two years, which have added to the recovery needs of the community,” he said.

“Nearly 60 per cent of the Wollondilly landscape was subject to the path of destructive fires (in 2019-2020).

“Funding from both the State and Federal Governments through the Bushfire Community Recovery and Resilience Fund supported the delivery of the mobile hub. It’s a fantastic and valuable investment in the long-term resilience of your community.”

When the van is not being used for recovery purposes, it will be used for resilience building projects, including community education and awareness programs, and social programs aimed at increasing connectedness and opportunities for residents to connect with community services.

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