- First ever appointment of a District Recovery Coordinator to assist local governments with recovery efforts
- Recovery coordination group established to ensure collaborative whole-of-government approach
Emergency Services Minister Stephen Dawson has announced today the appointment of Wheatbelt Development Commission Chief Executive Rob Cossart as District Recovery Coordinator (DRC) to the Wheatbelt.
Mr Cossart's role as DRC will be to support communities recovering from the aftermath of catastrophic bushfires that hit the Whealtbelt region in February. He will also chair a District Recovery Coordination Group that will be established to ensure targeted support is delivered to fire-affected communities.
Farmers in the Wheatbelt suffered significant losses during the fires, with three separate blazes tearing through Western Australia's agricultural heartland on February 6.
Fanned by strong winds and extreme heat, the fires burnt more than 60,000 hectares, devastated farmland and destroyed livestock in the local government areas of Corrigin, Cuballing, Narrogin, Bruce Rock and Wickepin.
As chair of the coordination group, Mr Cossart will facilitate a forum for shires to come together to share and learn from their respective challenges and approaches to the recovery journey.
This additional support from the State Government complements jointly funded Commonwealth-State Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements that have already been announced for parts of the region.
Comments attributed to Emergency Services Minister Stephen Dawson:
"Given the catastrophic fire conditions recently experienced, along with an unprecedented number of incidents, this is the first time a District Recovery Coordinator has been appointed to assist with recovery efforts.
"Rob Cossart is the ideal candidate to take on this challenging, yet important role.
"Mr Cossart is a community leader with considerable knowledge of the region, especially its agriculture, and he has a strong understanding of local recovery efforts.
"As head of the Wheatbelt Development Commission, he has an intimate understanding of the issues affecting each shire."
Comments attributed to Regional Development Minister Alannah MacTiernan:
"Many local Wheatbelt communities were devastated by these bushfires and will continue to feel the effects in the months ahead.
"The impacts on the agricultural industry from these fires were immense.
"The appointment of Rob Cossart as District Recovery Coordinator will bring together skillsets and knowledge across the Department of Fire and Emergency Services, Primary Industries and Regional Development, and the Wheatbelt Development Commission.
"Rob's role as District Recovery Coordinator will provide another important avenue for the affected communities to receive the vital support they need in recovery."
Minister's office - 6552 5800