A NSW Government website

NSW Reconstruction Authority

The NSW Reconstruction Authority is dedicated to disaster prevention, preparedness, recovery, and reconstruction.

The government has established the authority as part of its response to the 2022 floods and in line with recommendations from the independent 2022 NSW Flood Inquiry, which was led by Professor Mary O’Kane and Mick Fuller.

It is a statutory corporation reporting to the Minister for Planning, the Hon Anthony Roberts MP, and the Minister for Emergency Services and Resilience, and Minister for Flood Recovery, the Hon Steph Cooke MP.

The new authority was established in December 2022 to better prepare communities for natural disasters, such as the devastating floods that NSW experienced in 2022.

These events, which occurred across much of NSW, have severely tested the state’s ability to prepare for, respond to, and recover from disasters.

The establishment of the NSW Reconstruction Authority means NSW communities will be best placed to face natural disasters and recover faster.

Functions and powers

The authority will be the key agency to support communities to rebuild and recover quicker and help to build greater resilience.

The NSW Reconstruction Authority Bill 2022 establishes and provides powers to the authority and sets out its functions and responsibilities. The authority, the Minister for Planning and Minister for Emergency Services and Resilience and the Minister for Flood Recovery will have a variety of powers. These include the ability to enter into  contracts and to acquire land.

There are other powers that can only be used in specific circumstances to speed up reconstruction and recovery activities. For example, the Minister for Planning  can authorise development without the need for ordinary development approval, but only in very specific circumstances. The minister can do this during a state of emergency, where the minister is satisfied the authorisation is necessary to protect the safety and welfare of members of the public.

Responsibilities

The NSW Reconstruction Authority is responsible for facilitating disaster prevention, preparedness, recovery, reconstruction, and adaptation to the effects of natural disasters in NSW.

The authority will:

  • lead disaster resilience, risk reduction, adaptation and mitigation activities
  • provide education and infrastructure before disasters to minimise harm
  • ensure the reconstruction process begins swiftly when a disaster strikes
  • reduce community devastation.

The authority’s responsibilities include:

  • creating and implementing the State disaster mitigation plan
  • giving advice as needed to councils and government agencies on disaster adaptation
  • supporting communities to help recover from a natural disaster
  • coordinating development in disaster-affected areas
  • acquiring and subdividing land for rebuilding communities
  • rebuilding infrastructure.

This represents a new and unique alignment between disaster planning and strategic planning that does not currently exist in NSW. This new approach will be an integral part of how we design our future cities and towns.

For enquiries about the NSW Reconstruction Authority:

reconstruction@dpie.nsw.gov.au

Related questions

Who will the authority report to?

As the authority’s roles and responsibilities include certain planning powers, it will be responsible to the Minister for Planning. The authority will also report to the Minister for Emergency Services and Resilience, and Minister for Flood Recovery, the Hon Steph Cooke MP.

What is the role of the advisory board?

An advisory board will be set up to give advice about the authority’s strategic priorities. It will also make recommendations to the authority’s CEO about:

  • priorities for community infrastructure, other property and community services needed for the protection, rebuilding and recovery of affected communities
  • the need to declare certain projects, reconstruction areas and disaster prevention areas.

The advisory board will also advise the Minister for Planning, and the Minister for Emergency Services and Resilience, and Minister for Flood Recovery and the CEO to ensure the authority is exercising its functions appropriately, effectively and efficiently. It will give advice about any matter at the request of the minister or the CEO. The NSW Minister for Planning, and the Minister for Emergency Services and Resilience, and Minister for Flood Recovery and the Australian Government will nominate board members to ensure they have the relevant skills, knowledge, and experience for the authority to exercise its functions appropriately.

Who is the CEO of the authority?

NSW Department of Planning and Environment Secretary Michael Cassel has been appointed as the acting CEO of the NSW Reconstruction Authority.

Mr Cassel is currently the Secretary of the Department of Planning and Environment and will continue in this role while also holding the role as acting as CEO of the Authority.

The Public Service Commission has commenced a recruitment process to fill the role of the CEO of the authority on a permanent basis, it is anticipated that this process will be complete in early 2023.

Will the authority be responsible for handling emergencies?

The authority will not be responsible for handling emergencies. In an emergency, combat agencies will continue to remain responsible for issuing evacuation orders and response-related activities.

When will the authority be operational?

The NSW Reconstruction Authority is now functional under the leadership of acting CEO Michael Cassel.

What is the State disaster mitigation plan?

One of the authority’s key priorities is to develop the State disaster mitigation plan.

The State disaster mitigation plan will:

  • identify potential strategies and actions for reducing the impact of disasters
  • assess and consider the impacts of climate change on disasters
  • determine priority projects for regions to mitigate the impact of disasters.

The State disaster mitigation plan will set priorities for the plan, disaster adaptation plans and strategic plans under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979.

What has happened to Resilience NSW?

Resilience NSW has been wound down with the establishment of the NSW Reconstruction Authority. Most staff working at Resilience NSW have transitioned to the NSW Reconstruction Authority bringing their valuable experience and knowledge. Some staff will be offered positions across appropriate state government agencies, where there is better alignment to their expertise.

What will happen to the Northern Rivers Reconstruction Corporation?

To ensure there is a single agency responsible for the reconstruction of devastated communities in NSW, the Northern Rivers Reconstruction Corporation will be transitioned into the NSW Reconstruction Authority. The Northern Rivers Reconstruction Corporation will continue to help rebuild communities within the Byron, Clarence Valley, Lismore, Richmond Valley, Tweed and Kyogle local government areas until it is transitioned into the Authority in 2023.

What will happen to my application for the grant under the Resilient Homes Fund?

If you have applied for either the Resilient Land Program or the Resilient Homes Program, your application is being considered and there is nothing further to do. Under the Resilient Homes Program, the Northern Rivers Reconstruction Corporation is prioritising homes in highest flood risk areas of the Northern Rivers and speaking with the most severely impacted homeowners first. The Northern Rivers Reconstruction Corporation will keep you updated as the program rolls out and you can expect more information in early 2023. Find out more at Resilient Homes Fund