Shoalhaven News

Premier says fire victims 'not forgotten'

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New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian assured South Coast bushfire victims they "are not forgotten" during her visit to Batemans Bay this morning.

Following a tour of the almost completed Batemans Bay Bridge with Member for Bega Andrew Constance, Mrs Berejiklian said the State Government was continuing to support the individuals, families, businesses and communities impacted by last summer's fires.

"We know the pain and suffering that communities are still feeling," she said.

"We will continue to work with you to allow you to get back to a quality of life that you had before the bushfires."

Mr Constance said mental health was still a major battle for many and that the trauma would continue for years to come.

During her visit, the Premier said she was pleased the new Batemans Bay Bridge over the Clyde River, which was due for completion in 2023, would open "months ahead of schedule".

"By the Easter long weekend, cars will be driving across this bridge," she added.

She said the project provided 1000 jobs for the region, including apprenticeships, and the bridge would be a boost for locals as well as tourists.

She said improved safety on the Princes Highway was a priority right down to the Victorian Border.

Mrs Berejiklian said yesterday's roll-out of Covid-19 vaccinations was a "welcome relief", with 35,000 staff in public hospitals to be vaccinated within the next three weeks, plus residents of aged care homes.

"It is a game changer for us," she said.

"It reduces the risk for our staff who have been on a knife’s edge for 13 months."

The Premier will be joined by Member for South Coast Shelley Hancock and Kiama MP Gareth Ward to announce details of a new youth employment skills project in Nowra this afternoon.

The Productivity Bootcamp proposed for South Nowra will offer an eight-week skills and work values program aimed at getting young people into the trade and construction industry.