Farmers NSW are calling for the state government to fast-track flood inquiry recommendations as the regions brace for another round of La Nina.
The Independent Flood Inquiry report into the handling of the state's major floods identified a number of issues, and NSW Farmers President Xavier Martin said it was critical to get moving on reforms quickly.
"Right now there are farmers, families and businesses still getting on top of the repairs and rebuilding from flooding earlier in the year, and they'll be understandably apprehensive at reports La Nina is coming back," Mr Martin said.
"What we need to see is swift, decisive action from the government on some of these key recommendations, with better coordination of rescue and recovery, and a streamlined process for training, response and communication.
"At-risk farmers and communities cannot allow the hard-learned lessons from these floods to be forgotten, we must ensure any new agencies deliver what people actually need."
NSW Farmers is encouraging government to work closely with the agricultural sector to deliver on the recommendations in the report, including the establishment of a full-time State Emergency Management Operations Coordinator, the recommendation to develop a single app with disaster updates including the status of regional and rural roads, and improvements to weather reporting.
But it was not just the state government that needed to improve its approach to natural disasters, as Mr Martin pointed out local government also had a significant role in flood management and mitigation as the local approving authority.
"There is a real need for improved planning, assessment, and approvals around public and private works on floodplains, because farmers need certainty through transparency and consistent application of the rules," Mr Martin said.
"Timely access to information about roads or flood levels is vital for the safety of people, their homes, livestock and machinery, and will help mitigate similar tragedies in the future.
"We are encouraged to see commitment by the NSW Government to act on the recommendations and we are keen to see local government play its part as well.
There were a number of areas where primary producers and rural landholders would see positives from the adoption of the recommendations focused on housing and local amenities, which Mr Martin said were important to the fabric of affected communities.
"Farmers, families, communities, businesses, they need certainty around their future and there is a real opportunity here to demonstrate that people will not be forgotten when it matters most," Mr Martin said.
"The impacts of these flood events is felt far beyond the food and fibre growing regions of our state - we all saw the headlines about lettuce shortages as a result of floods - and we all need to make sure we have an emergency response system that will avoid unnecessary delays to getting help where it's needed most."