NSW flood crisis inquiries to focus on government responses

NSW’s state planning agency will hold an independent inquiry into how effectively governments and their agencies responded to the February/March floods.

The Department of Planning, Industry and Environment (DPIE) inquiry will report on the causes of, preparedness for, response to, and recovery from the catastrophic floods and will be headed by NSW Independent Planning Commission chair Mary O’Kane and former police commissioner Mick Fuller.

Announcing the inquiry earlier this week, acting Premier Paul Toole said related factors like land-use planning and building standards in exposed locations would also be examined.

“The terms of reference I have instructed [DPIE] to undertake [include] a broader look at not just rebuilds, but where people can build in the future, the various sciences that can be applied.”

The inquiry will report to the Premier on causation, land use planning and management and related matters by June 30 and on all other matters by September 30.

Details of public consultation and submission-making opportunities are expected to be published soon.

Meanwhile, a state parliamentary committee will hold a separate inquiry on how local, state and federal governments coordinated responses to the floods.

The terms of reference also include looking at the implementation of recommendations from inquiries into previous natural disasters.

This inquiry will begin after 10 April and report by 9 August.