Two members of Federal parliament saw firsthand the efforts of Australian Defence Force personnel assisting emergency services in the clean-up following floods in the Hawkesbury region.
CAPTION: Captain Simon Raey-Atkinson and Brigadier Michael Garraway welcome Assistant Minister for Defence Matt Thistlethwaite to Headquarters 2nd Division, Randwick Barracks. Story by Flight Lieutenant Rob Hodgson. Photo by Captain Annie Richardson.
Assistant Minister for Defence Matt Thistlethwaite and the Member for Macquarie Susan Templeman spent time gaining valuable insight into the emergency response coordination as well as the heavy lifting on the ground.
Escorted by Brigadier Robert Lording, commander of domestic operations in NSW, they received a situation briefing at the emergency response command post at Windsor police station, followed by a tour of a wedding reception centre on the banks of the Hawkesbury River, which felt the full force of the floodwaters.
As would be expected, the reception centre was in great need of assistance as the owners commenced the clean-up.
More than 60 ADF members provided the ‘muscle’ to clear out the buildings and surrounding gardens.
As the local member, Ms Templeman is a part of the community and was well aware of the suffering the floods have caused.
She expressed gratitude for the role the ADF played in assisting in the recovery.
“Having the support of the ADF in the clean up is a real game changer for us,” Ms Templeman said.
“From the start – and the key here is that the ADF reacted very fast – there has been a really positive feeling in our community towards the ADF help.
“This community are already big fans of the ADF because we have RAAF Base Richmond here, and to see the work the ADF is doing only strengthens this relationship.”
Mr Thistlethwaite praised the work of the ADF personnel on the ground.
“I have just met with the six different agencies involved in the recovery here and everyone thanked the ADF personnel for their fantastic work and the speed at which they have been deployed,” Mr Thistlethwaite said.
“I am very proud of them, and they too should be proud of the work they are doing.”