The Shoalhaven City Council received a NSW Local Government Excellence Award for its disaster recovery response to the Currowan bushfire.
Nominated for four other categories, it was the Shoalhaven Bushfire Recovery Action Plan, coordinated by Vince Di Pietro which bagged the award for Disaster Recovery/ Emergency Response Management for councils with a population over 100,000.
"We formed a recovery committee and had a plan up and running by the first week of February 2020 and by the 30th of June, we had affected enough of the aims and vision of that plan to be able to transfer the extant recovery work back to council business as usual," said Mr Di Pietro.
"But the work of the team to work across the built, the environment, the economic and tourism as well as the social domains was really terrific and we achieved a great amount of outcomes for the Shoalhaven.
"So putting in the nomination was very much a labour of love to have the recognition of those terrific people which included folks from the New South Wales Police, state premier's office and the regional and local emergency offices not to mention the teams in the council which did a lot of the footwork."
The Shoalhaven faced a mammoth bushfire season with around 82 per cent of its 4,660 square kilometres burnt to the ground.
The Shoalhaven Bushfire Recovery Action Plan set out response teams framed around economic recovery, social recovery, built environment and the environment.
The plan was supported unanimously by all councillors.
The NSW Local Government Excellence Awards celebrate outstanding achievements across Local Government that promote innovation and improvement within the community.
"It was a fantastic team effort and the outcomes for our city have been really pleasing especially the waste management team that was able to take 18,000 tonnes of uncontaminated waste off the fireground and reduce all of it, bar about 300 tonnes, to recyclable and repurposed materials," said Mr Di Pietro.
"The way that our environmental teams were able to manage all of the seafronts, national parks, reserves and all of the wildlife feeding programs that we undertook was amazing.
"And the DAs that were submitted were approved in a record time. It was really fantastic work at all levels across the whole of council and I think the Shoalhaven fared very well due largely to the efforts of that terrific little committee that really rolled its sleeves up and pulled a lot of G in the turn to get it done."
He said the Shoalhaven city council would be delighted for any councils to utilise the Shoalhaven's Recovery Action Plan.
Mayor Amanda Findley said she was proud of the work that the recovery action teams put into getting Shoalhaven back on its feet as quickly as possible even when faced with the challenges of additional catastrophes such as the flood and the pandemic.
"They did all of this work on top of their existing workload so they put in an enormous effort," she said.
Shoalhaven City Council were runners up in the following categories: