NSW Shadow Environment Minister Kate Washington visits Bellingen Shire

When Kate Washington was given the role of Shadow Minister for Environment a few months ago, one of the first emails she received came from Nambucca Shire councillor Susan Jenvey.

The pair had met at a Country Labor launch during the state election campaign, which saw Ms Washington elected for a second term as Member for Port Stephens and Ms Jenvey fail to wrest the seat of Oxley from Melinda Pavey.

"[The email] said, please come up and have a look and let's talk Great Koala National Park," Ms Washington said. "Let's talk issues affecting the area."

So this school holidays, with her teenage son and daughter in tow, Ms Washington obliged, making the visit part of a wider tour that took in Lismore and Tweed Heads as well as Nambucca, Bellingen and Dorrigo.

In Dorrigo, she met with landowners and firefighters who raised concerns about how the Bees Nest fire was handled.

"There appears to have been some system failures in communication that warrant discussion and perhaps a review," Ms Washington said.

She noted that "emotions in the room were palpable" and said she would report some of the matters raised to the Shadow Minister for Emergency Services, Trish Doyle, and would look into others that connected to her own portfolio.

"I have concerns about national parks and their resourcing, which has been cut significantly," she said. "We know that they have lost up to half of their staff, and a lot of those who lost their jobs had expertise in fire management.

"I'm going to be asking some questions of the government about that. Given this fire started in Guy Fawkes National Park, I think the community deserves to know that national parks has the resources it needs to manage fires when they start in their own patch."

Ms Washington also wants to ensure RFS brigades like Tyringham, which was visited by the Premier and promised $20,000 for a kitchen upgrade, get all the resources they need in a timely manner, given the trauma they've been through.

"There's still an ongoing threat. The community there needs to have the comfort of knowing they have what they need to cope with what might come. At the moment, that's not the case."

In Bellingen, they met with the Bellingen Environment Centre to talk about the Great Koala National Park proposal and also with Mayor Dominic King and General Manager Liz Jeremy.

"We were essentially talking about the importance of water security," Ms Washington said. "And water quality, and the protection of the headwaters."

What she learned about the Great Koala National Park from the Nambucca Valley Conservation Society and the Bellingen Environment Centre would feed into discussions within the Labor party, Ms Washington said.

Asked if NSW Labor had a position on the GKNP, she said it had a longstanding one [in favour] but positions on all fronts are now up for review.

"Our broad policy on all our former positions, in a new parliament, is that none of those are formal until they've gone through shadow cabinet again.

"This is why Susan was saying 'please come up'. And why I wanted to come up and get a good understanding."