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Rural towns highlight cross-border failures: Bushfire Royal Commission begins

The Royal Commission into National Natural Disaster Arrangements has begun today, with recommendations expected to be handed down in August.

The Bega Valley in NSW was one of the regions worst affected by the 2019-20 bushfire crisis, having lost 465 homes and over a thousand sheds and outbuildings.

Bega Valley Shire Council Mayor Kristy McBain tells Deborah Knight the community is struggling to recover, with coronavirus compounding the issue.

“Our tourism and local businesses have suffered.

“We haven’t had real foot traffic at all in 2020.”

The mayor hopes one of the outcomes of the Royal Commission will be greater integration between cross-border agencies.

“We’re a border community – we share a border with Victoria.

“We need to make sure the communication between the levels of government is strengthened.”

Ms McBain is also calling on more members of the fire-affected communities to make submissions to the Commission, which has received only 400 public submissions thus far.

Click PLAY below to hear the full interview

Image: NSW RFS