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NSW Breaking News

NEW LEGAL AID CEO ANNOUNCED

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NEW LEGAL AID CEO ANNOUNCED

Attorney General Mark Speakman today announced the appointment of Monique Hitter as the Chief Executive Officer of Legal Aid NSW.

Ms Hitter has been Acting CEO of Legal Aid NSW since November 2021. Her career at Legal Aid NSW spans more than 20 years, including 15 years on the Executive and four years as Deputy CEO.

Mr Speakman said Monique Hitter is an outstanding and accomplished senior executive leader with a proven track record in achieving justice outcomes for some of our State’s most vulnerable people.

“Ms Hitter has a deep understanding of Legal Aid NSW’s critical and unique responsibility to ensure access to justice for vulnerable people, including people with mental health issues, people with intellectual disabilities, the elderly and people in remote and regional areas.

“Having spearheaded Legal Aid NSW’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Ms Hitter is well-placed to take the organisation beyond the challenges of the past two years into its next critical phase in the provision of legal assistance services.”

Chair of the Legal Aid NSW Board Craig Smith welcomed Ms Hitter’s appointment.

“Ms Hitter has earned the respect and the support of the Board. Her commitment and passion for the cause of Legal Aid will ensure our continued success in serving the community and providing access to justice,” Mr Smith said.

Ms Hitter said she is humbled and honoured to be given the opportunity to lead Australia’s largest provider of legal assistance services and its outstanding and dedicated workforce.

“It is a great privilege to lead Legal Aid NSW, to serve and to make a significant difference to the individuals and communities who need us most across NSW,” Ms Hitter said.
Monique Hitter commences in the role immediately and replaces former CEO Brendan Thomas.

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The Northern Rivers Times Edition 164

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The Northern Rivers Times Edition 164

 

 

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2022 Floods

‘Don’t Forget Us!’ say Bungawalbyn, Woodburn and Coraki Residents.

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Protestor holding a sign at Woodburn Bridge

‘Don’t Forget Us!’ say Bungawalbyn, Woodburn and Coraki Residents.

 

By Kate Coxwell.

The Resilient Homes Program, which was created to provide assistance to home owners to restore and flood protect their homes and lives from future events has rejected over 5000 of the applicants out of just over 6000 in total, resulting in a rally which last weekend saw the Clarence electorate, Woodburn, Coraki, Bungawalbin, Broadwater, Wardell and surrounding rural townships came out in force, back to the bridge where National media had filmed them stranded, in the floods, nearly 18 months ago.

$750 million dollars of promised flood recovery funds seemingly disappeared the week prior, and over 5000 residents affected by floods were called by Service NSW staff to say “you are ineligible” as the NRRC also released new flood zone maps excluding the 2022 data and itself dissolved within days in the same week, the buck now stopping with the Northern Rivers Reconstruction Authority.

The Resilient Homes Program, which was created to provide assistance to home owners to restore and flood protect their homes and lives from future events has rejected over 5000 of the applicants out of just over 6000 in total, resulting in a rally which last weekend saw the Clarence electorate, Woodburn, Coraki, Bungawalbin, Broadwater, Wardell and surrounding rural townships came out in force, back to the bridge where National media had filmed them stranded, in the floods, nearly 18 months ago.

Arguably, these communities were the hardest hit, with some residents being stranded for over 3 weeks with no access in or out, some stranded for 6 in the worst hit areas of Bungawalbyn, and no one other than their own community, coming to provide life saving medical and supply runs of food and water. This community says it is still feeling forgotten, as many homes, being classed as rural, have been made automatically ineligible, while some others, where water reached the ceiling fans, due to the new mapping, deemed ‘safe’.

With over 300 people attending the rally, standing across the span of the Woodburn Bridge, it was very well attended. Local MP’s Janelle Saffin (State for Lismore) and Richie Williamson (State for Clarence) as well as Mayor Robert Mustow.

Protestors rallying on the Woodburn bridge holding signs.

In an address to the crowd MP Richie Williamson said “This is a humanitarian crisis we are dealing with, the Premier agreed. We need to do better- the Government, the politicians-everyone in the decision-making chain needs to do better.”

Whilst MP Janelle Saffin said “You say you feel forgotten. I have not forgotten you. It was an inland tsunami. Despite not representing Woodburn, you are in my heart!”

Both MP’s and the Mayor were supportive of the Tranch 2 funding proposed, and had recently attended Sydney, speaking to Parliament as a group, about the needs of the community.

One member of the Coraki community recalled “how even in the second major 2022 flood, there was only 2 SES on that day, despite all warnings and extra support sent from around the State, we were forgotten, and the community who had been helping us with supplies, people who live among us who had also lost everything, they were the ones who came, with emergency medical supplies, food and assistance for those trapped again.”

Lyndall Murray from the Hands and Hearts Project, a project which has come together to do what the Government simply hasn’t, and that is to restore 100 homes, with their small team of 16 volunteers, said “The Hands and Hearts Project is doing what the Government won’t. The NRRC decision broke my heart.”

This time, the community is coming together to say “We count- Don’t Forget us!” and has formed a petition, asking for all who care about them to sign it. The petition can be found here: www.dontforgetus.com.au

 

To see more news on the 2022 floods, please see our other recent posts.

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