PIFAC function: That, to ensure the community can better understand the threat of flood, storm and tsunami activity, the Department of Customer Service (DCS) be made accountable for PIFAC in all emergencies. This will improve access to clear, reliable and consistent messaging prior to and during emergencies. This transfers the PIFAC role from NSW Police Force to Service NSW. Under this PIFAC function, DCS would be responsible for:
• proactively assessing community sentiment and working with agencies to effectively disseminate key disaster information to all communities including vulnerable, culturally, linguistically, and religiously diverse communities
• coordinating clear, consistent, reliable messaging from all government agencies, especially during a disaster
• working with the SEMC, the Bureau of Meteorology, the new NSWRA and SEOCON to provide public statements evaluating the likely risk of flooding and the effectiveness of planning and preparation for the upcoming season. This should be based on sophisticated monitoring of key risk factors and signals for extreme flood events. It should form the basis for clear public communication about these risks on a regional basis and the actions that the Government proposes in preparation.
• working with the NSWRA and SEOCON to deliver a single communication tool for riverine floods, flash floods and dam warnings which uses all available inputs (such as information from the Bureau, real-time river and rain observations data and citizen science data) and provides an assessment of antecedent conditions (such as saturated catchments, soil moisture and water storage capacity). This information should be available to communities and individuals in real-time, on live warning signs in town centres (using satellite connections so they are not reliant on local telecommunications infrastructure)
• recognising that community will revert to social media platforms to self organise when government is unable to respond, the NSW Government should also consider how to work with social media companies and online communities to ensure consistent messaging during an emergency. This may include directing individual users to Government platforms for updated information.

Recommendation 7