No green machine to make Lismore clean

8th April 2017 6:00 AM
Army reserve personnel from the 41st Royal NSW Regiment, including Private Wouters, Major Piper and Private Johnson, are part of the military assistance for the SES during the Lismore flood emergency. READY TO HELP: Army reserve personnel from the 41st Royal NSW Regiment, including Private Wouters, Major Piper and Private Johnson, are part of the military assistance ready to back up the SES during the Lismore flood emergency. Alison Paterson

LISMORE is coping well and doesn't need any support from the Australian Defence Force, according to Mayor Isaac Smith.

While the residents of Queensland received assistance from the ADF to combat Cyclone Debbie, Lismore's residents and business-owners are in good shape so far, he said.

However, Cr Smith said calling on the green machine is always a possibility.

"It's always an option and Kevin Hogan has said if we need help we can activate them," Cr Smith said.

"It's day-by-day at this stage, but to be honest we are working through this, (so) at this stage we don't think it's necessary."

ADF assistance would be free

The Federal Member for Page said he spoke to the disaster recovery team a week ago about offering ADF personnel and equipment.

He confirmed the ADF assistance would not cost council one cent.

"It was deemed unnecessary at the time, but this offer is still there," Mr Hogan said.

Last month the ADF deployed a taskforce to "save human life" and "alleviate human suffering" in support of disaster crews across North Queensland ahead of Tropical Cyclone Debbie.

While Lismore is home to the 41st Battalion Royal New South Wales Regiment, headquarters, an Australian Defence Force media spokesman said they need to be invited to respond.

"The Australian Defence Force stands ready to provide support to disaster affected areas in Australia and the region, in accordance with existing Defence Assistance to the Civil Community (DACC) arrangements and regionally as part of whole of government response," the spokesman said.

"All significant domestic requests for commonwealth assistance, including from defence, during a disaster are made by the affected state or territory through the Attorney-General's Department (AGD), Emergency Management Australia (EMA) Division."

No task beyond Lismore's capabilities

Flood Recovery coordinator, Euan Ferguson, who was fresh out of a flood forum for businesses at Murwillumbah, said no-one had identified a task to him which was beyond the capabilities of the Lismore Council, emergency organisations, contractors or volunteers.

"If there was a task identified where we could not get resources for, then the request would be made by the combat agency (SES) and a discussion by the senior operational police officer and the commissioner of the SES," he said.

"Whilst there are significant clean-up tasks going on and it is taking a long time to do, it is still happening and we are seeing a number of spontaneous volunteers undertaking tasks and that's terrific."

Recovery going well

Mr Ferguson said in his view, the recovery is going well, with wonderful work from the SES, Rural Fire Service and Fire & Emergency personnel..

"The general process is the response part of a flood event is managed by SES as the control agency and their responsibility is tailoring off and the recovery is ramping up so we are in the transition," he said.

"If we ran out of agency personnel and government organisations and contractor resources, we would then go interstate and then if we ran out of those resources, that's when we see a discussion around the Australian Defence Force."

Meanwhile, Mr Ferguson said after the business forum, he felt Murwillumbah initial recovery could take up to eight weeks.

"At the meeting there were some really keen messages articulated, particularly for the local politicians," he said.