Urging for continued aid: Governor-General Quentin Bryce during the October 2013 fires. Photo: Geoff Jones
Blue Mountains communities ravaged by the bushfires will be left without a leader of its recovery effort after the state government withdraws support at the end of this month.
Blue Mountains City Council mayor Mark Greenhill has urged Premier Barry O'Farrell to continue aid until the end of the bushfire season on March 31.
The state government plans to shut the Blue Mountains Bushfire Recovery Committee, chaired by Phil Koperberg, as soon as the last of the 212 burnt home sites are cleared at the end of this month.
Mr Greenhill said it was too soon to leave people reeling from the ongoing psychological and economic fall-out of the October fires.
''The government's view seems to be that the bushfire recovery starts and ends with clearing the blocks,'' he said. ''It's almost like there wasn't a natural disaster once you have cleared the blocks. Well, this was the biggest single loss of property from a natural disaster in the history of NSW..."
''As of February, what co-ordinated support services for a community recovering from a massive natural disaster will there be? Answer: None.''
Mr Greenhill has asked to meet Mr O'Farrell to finalise a recovery plan and discuss grant funding, which has not been confirmed.
Michael Paag, Blue Mountains businessman and an adviser to the Blue Mountains Bushfire Recovery Committee, agreed it was too soon to withdraw support.
''The bushfires have had a really deep impact on the economy, particularly in places like Mount Victoria, Blackheath and Bilpin,'' he said ''I know of a lot of businesses who have laid off casual employees; I know of families who have just left the area because they can't find work and that has a knock-on effect on the whole community.''
However, Springwood Rotary Club president Laurie Waterson said it was time for the community to look after itself.
''Somewhere along the line the community has to stand on its own two feet,'' he said. ''Phil Koperberg and the recovery team have done a great job but we're getting to that point now where the community has to take over.''