Thank you to Senator Jim Molan for his kind words about the NSW SES…
From the pale blues and greens of our life-saving health carers’ scrubs to the iconic fluro gold of our magnificent Rural Fire Service brigades, this has been a year when we have become very familiar with the feeling of respect, reassurance and indeed a surge of relief that the presence of certain uniforms evokes.
Over the past fortnight of severe weather conditions it has been the fabulous orange, the ubiquitous orange of our NSW State Emergency Service volunteers that has seemed to have been everywhere at what seemed like all times. Whether the primary responders in flood and storm emergencies, or playing crucial supporting roles to other emergency services such as the NSW Police Force and the Ambulance Service of NSW, the versatility and professionalism of this volunteer based community organisation confirm the standards of excellence within its ranks. In times of crisis it’s easy to forget that our SES units are our neighbours and friends, ordinary community members with an extraordinary breadth of experiences, skills and interests, who share a desire to give back, a commitment to do something special for their community, at a time when it’s most needed.
Behind the slick rescues and fluent operational activities that so effectively meet the challenges and vagaries of our weather, and emergencies of all types, lie hours of dedicated, arduous and specialist training. Community action and corporate volunteers also play crucial roles in liaison and support, ensuring vital information, advice and assistance is provided to residents in areas affected by local risk, and to engage workplaces and other organisations as volunteering partners with the SES.
On Wednesday 12 August I was honoured to accept an invitation from the NSW Minister for Local Government, and Member for South Coast, the Hon Shelley Hancock MP, to accompany her & SES Commissioner Carlene York to visit the SES Nowra Unit and the Shoalhaven Emergency Management Centre in West Nowra. There we met, thanked and spoke to SES volunteers who, from a base of 80 members, have produced over 2000 hours of service for their community during this most recent flooding crisis. I am grateful to the Minister for the opportunity to have met and thanked personally the Commissioner, and to SES volunteer Adam for his informative and detailed briefings, providing an impressive and very clear picture of this phenomenal work undertaken by his Nowra unit.
To all SES volunteers, who have been so very active this year – whether on the front lines or behind the scenes – we salute you and thank you most sincerely.
Senator Jim Molan