Last year I had a look at the NRMA's Mobile Member Centre (MMC) when it was in Canberra. This is a semi trailer equipped as a mobile office, which the NRMA drive around to NSW shows, to promote the organization. The vehicle is fitted out as a mobile office with computers and display screens. A the time I noted it was very similar to the Command vehicle the NSW Police had ordered.
So I wrote to the NRMA and suggested they make it available to the NSW government for emergences. The NRMA replied pointing out this was a possible use.
After the recent floods in Newcastle the Premier commented that they would set up emergency relief offices when they could find premises. According to the Itinerary the MMC was to be at an agricultural show 14 - 16 June in Casino. It would need to go past Newcastle on the way, so I suggested to the NRMA and the NSW Premier's office the unit be diverted to Newcastle for flood relief.
The NRMA did not reply and after two weeks the NSW Premier's office replied that the matter had been referred to the Minister for Emergency Services, and Minister for Water Utilities, the Hon N Rees, MP.
The emergency in Newcastle is now over. But perhaps the NSW Government will give some thought to preparations for the next emergency. A mobile office could have access to the federal as well as state web based information sources and services. This could be used to provide both emergency assistance and the usual government services which may not be available in the recovery phase of an emergency. Essentially the same system could be used by the Federal Government to provide emergency support to remote aboriginal communities.
I have had this further reply from the NSW Government (appended). This seems to suggest that the NSW Government believed that it was fully equipped for the emergency and discussed deployment of the NRMA mobile unit with the NRMA, but decided it was not required. However, I didn't think the NSW Police had yet taken delivery of the mobile emergency center they had ordered. As they had ordered one they much have had a need. If they had a need, then why not borrow the NRMA one?:
Date: Tue, 10 Jul 2007 10:08:42 +1000
Subject: Response to NRMA Mobile Member Centre Suggestion
Dear Mr Worthington,
Thank-you for your email regarding the NRMA Mobile Member Centre during the recent Hunter/Central Coast severe weather event.
Your email has been referred to the Minister for Emergency Services by the Premier and I am replying on the Minister's behalf. I apologise for the delay.
It is understood that you sent a copy of an email which was originally sent to the NRMA regarding the possibility of deploying their Mobile Member Centre to assist emergency services in the response and recovery effort.
After discussions with the NRMA it is understood that they did deploy their Mobile Member Centre to assist their members in recovery after the event.
The NRMA has no official role in NSW Emergency Management Arrangements, but discussions have concluded with a mutual understanding that every reasonable effort to assist the community of NSW would be made, given the NRMA's position as a private organisation. Your suggestion has consequently been noted by the appropriate agencies.
As you will understand Emergency Services in NSW use a wide range of specialist equipment, including mobile command centres, some of which were deployed during this event.
Thank-you for taking the time to make your suggestion and your interest in the response and recovery arrangements of the State.
A/Ministerial Liaison Officer
Office for Emergency Services
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