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The terms of reference for the inquiry were referred to the committee by the Legislative Council on 23 March 2022.

Being aware that many flood affected people still had limited access to services including electricity and telecommunications at the time of the inquiry, the committee put in place additional lines of communication to engage with flood affected communities. This included establishing a mobile-friendly online questionnaire, and a series of public forums in flood affected areas. The committee also sought to engage early in the inquiry process with elected representatives living and working in flood affected regions, in order to identify issues of key concern to local communities and to foster engagement with local community networks.

The committee received 87 submissions, 4 supplementary submissions and 119 responses from individual participants to an online questionnaire.

Key findings:

  • That the NSW State Emergency Service and Resilience NSW failed as lead agencies to provide adequate leadership and effective coordination during the major flooding of February-March 2022.
  • That NSW Government agencies lacked coordination, created confusion and responded poorly in the February-March 2022 floods, resulting in the North Coast community being let down in their greatest time of need.
  • That the centralisation of the NSW State Emergency Service and a shortage of volunteers significantly hindered the ability of the agency to lead the response to the major flooding of February-March 2022.
  • That NSW Government agencies and telecommunications providers failed to ensure that communities affected by the February-March 2022 floods had adequate emergency communications capabilities.
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