Central Coast needs its own emergency warnings

05 December 2019


On 12 November large parts of New South Wales faced catastrophic fire warnings for the first time since a new rating system was introduced.

The New South Wales government declared a state of emergency.

I wish to offer my sincere condolences to all those who lost loved ones, suffered injury or lost property in the fires.

Fortunately, so far this season the Central Coast has been spared.

We've not been so lucky in the past in the region.

Particularly our rural and bush communities are preparing for a long fire season.

When the catastrophic fire danger was declared, it was applied to greater Sydney and greater Hunter.

The Central Coast was not mentioned, making it difficult for residents to confirm whether the warning applied locally.

Some were of the mistaken belief that the warning did not apply, which in the event of a fire may have put residents in harm's way.

Locals strongly identify with the Central Coast as the place they live.

Following council amalgamations, we have one Central Coast council area of over 340,000 people.

Locals don't consider themselves residents of the Hunter or of Sydney.

The Central Coast deserves clearer emergency warnings.

Central Coast Mayor, Lisa Matthews, and I have written to the Minister for Natural Disaster and Emergency Management seeking his support in putting this matter to federal agencies, particularly to the Bureau of Meteorology.

The Central Coast should be a standalone region for forecasts and emergency warnings.

Warnings should specify the Central Coast when communicating about future emergencies.

I look forward to the minister's urgent consideration of this request.