THE impact of COVID-19 on the North East's recovery from the Black Summer bushfires will be among the topics canvassed at an online Senate hearing on Wednesday.
An inquiry into the lessons to be learnt from the disaster will take evidence from health services, councils, recovery committees and industry figures.
The hearing was to be staged in person in Wodonga earlier this month before COVID prompted a switch to virtual proceedings.
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Member for Indi Helen Haines helped arrange the sitting and those who will testify.
"Our region was hit hard by the Black Summer bushfires, and it's vital that those experiences are properly reported to this committee," Dr Haines said.
She added there would be a focus on how the virus crisis hit recovery efforts.
"Just as our communities were starting to look to the future after the fires, they were faced with the COVID-19 pandemic," Dr Haines said.
Today’s Senate Bushfire Inquiry hearing revealed the @BOM_au briefed Federal, State and Territory Govts about the severe risk we faced over 100 times before the Black Summer fires. So why weren’t we prepared? We must start preparing now for the coming disaster season. pic.twitter.com/Z44QVMnDub— Senator Murray Watt (@MurrayWatt) July 29, 2020
"The lockdowns and the resulting isolation and mental health issues, the struggle for businesses, it's been hard across the country, but we were already on the back foot after the fires."
Representatives to testify will come from the Walwa Bush Nursing Hospital, Corryong Health, North East Water and HVP Plantations.
Councils listed to contribute are Alpine, Indigo, Towong, Wangaratta and Wodonga, while recovery committee members from from Walwa, Corryong and Alpine are on the itinerary for the day.
Members of the public can tune in through the federal parliament's website with proceedings to run from 9am to 3.30pm.
The Senate committee is due to complete its report by December.