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More NSW support for Brisbane storm response

22nd November 2008

Ministerial media release

Minister for Emergency Services, Tony Kelly said today that another 150 volunteers from the NSW State Emergency Service are to be deployed to assist on the Brisbane storm response operation, following continuing wild weather in South-East Queensland.

Mr Kelly said the SES volunteers were also responding to localised flooding in the Moree area, when they were called out to rescue three teenagers stranded on the roof of their car when they attempted to cross a flooded causeway at Terri Hie Hie, South East of Moree.

At the same time, 45 volunteers from the Northern Rivers region were kept busy over night as they cleaned up after a nasty storm swept through the region, leaving trees across roads, and with one or two homes also suffering some minor damage from falling trees. Mr Kelly said the irony was that several of the volunteers had only returned home from their tasking in Brisbane that day for some well-earned rest, only to have to assist their own community in time of need.

"Helping the residents in the storm-affected suburbs of Brisbane to clean up and recover from this natural disaster is a mammoth job - and one made that much harder by the severe storms over the past two nights," he said.

"NSW is ready to provide whatever support we can to the Queensland emergency services and community.

"More than 160 volunteers and staff from the NSW SES have already travelled to Brisbane to assist their Emergency Management Queensland colleagues. By the weekend, this number will have reached 300."

Mr Kelly said a taskforce of 50 SES volunteers from northern NSW was already on the ground in Brisbane, assisting with operations.

"Another taskforce of 100 volunteers will travel today, principally from the Sydney Metropolitan area. These volunteers will help relieve some of their colleagues who joined the operation early in the week and need to return home and to work."

Mr Kelly thanked the volunteers for their willingness to leave their work, homes and families to help the Brisbane community and those who were assisting the Northern Rivers Community in the wake of last night's localised flooding.

"I also want to thank the employers who have contributed to the emergency operation by allowing their staff members who are SES volunteers to leave their workplaces and join the response," he said.

"Without their employers' understanding and support, our emergency services volunteers would not be able to fulfil their commitment to assist and protect the community in times of trouble.

"Whenever there is a natural disaster or other emergency, our volunteers turn out, often in hazardous conditions, and they do it for no reward but the thanks of those they help along the way. Their skill, courage and dedication are second to none.

"Their employers recognise their contribution and so do the Government and people of this State - and also Queensland. As always, whenever a natural disaster or other emergency strikes, they deserve our praise and thanks."

NSW SES Task Force Commander Darren Winkler said he was intensely proud of the NSW volunteers who had responded to the request for assistance from Emergency Management Queensland as early as Tuesday afternoon.

"The NSW SES will continue to provide support to our counterparts in Queensland for as long as our assistance is required. It is great to be able to reciprocate the wonderful support that NSW received during the Hunter storms in June 2007," Mr Winkler said.

SES Director General Murray Kear is to travel to Brisbane early Saturday morning with the SES contingent to meet with representatives of Emergency Management Queensland and to personally thank the SES volunteers involved in the response. According to Mr Kear the ability of the NSW SES volunteers to mobilise and deploy in such large numbers in a short period of time was testament to their professionalism and efficiency.

More NSW support for Brisbane storm response
(PDF 31KB)

Minister for Emergency Services Media Contact: 02 9228 3999
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