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Minister thanks Emergency Service workers for a job well done

Published: 19th December 2007

NSW Emergency Services Minister Nathan Rees has today thanked all those involved in the emergency response and clean up undertaken after the Western Sydney hailstorm.

Mr Rees said an enormous effort had been put into helping residents affected by this month’s devastating storm, which was the fourth natural disaster to be declared in the state this year.

"Emergency service workers have almost completed providing assistance, with less than 100 calls for help outstanding," Mr Rees said.

"Since the December 9 storm, the State Emergency Service has received more than 5,600 calls for help.

"To cope with the huge number of requests for assistance, SES volunteers have received vital support from crews supplied by the Rural Fire Service, the NSW Fire Brigades and the Volunteer Rescue Association.

"The NSW Fire Brigades have been particularly helpful in dealing with high rise roofs and damaged roofs containing asbestos, as all firefighters are trained in dealing with hazardous materials.

"Many of these workers are volunteers and most have travelled from country towns around the state to help with the recovery effort at a time when most people are attending Christmas functions or taking holidays with their families.

"These people give their time without expecting anything in return, other than the satisfaction for helping those in need.  Without the help of these volunteers the relief effort would have taken much longer to complete and I thank them wholeheartedly for the important contributions they make on a regular basis to the community.

"I would also like to thank the volunteers’ employers for their understanding and allowing their staff to take time off to help with this massive operation.

"Other organisations, such as the Department of Community Services and local councils, have also pitched in to help and I thank them for their hard work.

"Blacktown SES local controller Gary Fry and Sydney Western Region controller Peter Cinque have done an outstanding job in coordinating this enormous workforce to ensure residents received the help they needed as quickly and as efficiently as possible, and Blacktown Mayor Leo Kelly has been particularly supportive.

"Since the storm, the weather has been against us, which has made the job that more difficult.  I thank the people of Blacktown, Hornsby and Baulkham Hills for their patience.

"While the emergency response is winding up, the recently established Recovery Coordination Committee will continue to meet to ensure services are available to assist residents in getting their lives back to normal as soon as possible.

"I am advised the committee has met several times since it was formed last week and is making great progress in supporting the communities in the affected areas."