The NSW State Coroner is conducting a series of coronial inquests and inquiries relating to the 2019/20 NSW bushfire season and council has said it stands ready to support anyone wishing to participate.
Council has been an active participant in the previous Royal Commissions, investigations, reviews and inquiries and said that will continue this time around.
"This inquiry is seeking information about the experiences of people directly impacted by the bushfires and council stands ready to support those who wish to participate through our Recovery Support Service," a council spokesman said.
Bega Valley Shire mayor Russell Fitzpatrick said while there have already been a number of reviews and inquiries into the 2019-20 Black Summer bushfires more broadly, this inquiry seeks to look at the effects of individual fires rather than the broad themes covered by previous reviews.
"While it can be traumatic for people to recall or recount their experiences, inquiries like this provide an opportunity for governments and agencies to learn from the past and ensure we are better prepared for the future.
"If you do choose to participate in the inquiry, or it raises any issues or concerns for you, please reach out to your Recovery Support Service case manager or one of the many organisations that provide health and wellbeing support across the shire."
The Inquiry will commence with an opening address at the Coroners Court of NSW, Lidcombe on August 25.
Public hearings will be conducted at various regional locations, including:
- Cooma Local Court on 6 - 17 September 2021
- Queanbeyan Local Court on 20 September - 1 October 2021
Written submissions will be accepted until Friday, July 23.
For more information about the inquiry, or to make a submission, go to www.coroners.nsw.gov.au/coroners-court/upcoming-inquests/nsw-bushfires.html
Mental health support
If you need support, call the Mental Health Line on 1800 011 511 and ask to be referred to a Bushfire Recovery Clinician. This support is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.