5 January - Rodd Staples: Staying safe during the bushfire crisis

5 months ago

Hi everyone,

As many of you are starting to return from leave following the Christmas closedown period, I would like to acknowledge the bushfire crisis that has continued across the state throughout the holiday season.

Working in partnership with other government agencies, our people have done us proud in restoring roads and services while working in incredibly tough conditions.

Their work has allowed people and goods to move in and out of regions before the next potential fire threat. For some, this effort has been sustained for several months. I am truly grateful and would like to thank every one of you.

Unfortunately this is not yet over and we will continue to work closely with our colleagues across government to keep people and property safe.

The State of Emergency remains in place and we are continuing to work with NSW Police and NSW Rural Fire Service to provide ongoing transport advice and logistical support, as we always do for this type of emergency response. The TfNSW State Emergency Coordination Group is now in operation at the Transport Management Centre to manage the Transport response across the state.

Over the coming days and weeks we will hear stories of great acts of courage, kindness and service from people in our communities. I know included in these will be stories of our people who supporting their communities during this emergency.

I saw this first hand as I travelled through the south coast last week, passing the devastation in places like Mogo and visiting the emergency centre at Moruya. I was incredibly touched by how every Transport person I talked with showed great care and compassion for the communities we are supporting. Everyone also deeply understood how important it is for these communities that our response is timely and joined up across government.

With the unprecedented scale of these bushfires, I already know that many of our people have been personally impacted, or have friends and family who have been affected. During this worrying and stressful time I would like to think that we will care for each other as sensitively as we are caring for the communities we serve.

If you have been impacted and need to make alternative work arrangements, please speak with your manager. If you know of colleagues who have been impacted through the fires, please reach out and support each other in the ways that you can.

And if you have been volunteering your time to support our emergency services, know that we will support you with paid special leave.

Many people have asked how you can provide practical support. The NSW Rural Fire Service has provided guidance Link to external site for those who would like to contribute.

While our teams across the state put in extraordinary effort to support communities in responding to the bushfire crisis, it’s critical that you all continue to prioritise your personal safety while the emergency situation remains in place.

As you return to work, it’s important to make sure your journey to and from work locations is safe. If you’re working in or travelling around a fire affected area, please keep up to date and follow the latest advice from NSW Police or NSW Rural Fire Service Link to external site and plan ahead at livetraffic.com Link to external site.

The bushfires have severely impacted transport infrastructure and it may take us several weeks, or even months, to repair. But right now as the emergency continues, please stay safe and look out for each other.

If you are affected by the bushfires and need to access government services to support recovery, please see the Office of Emergency Management Bushfire Recovery Assistance fact sheet Link to external site.

Rodd Staples