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Wednesday, 23 March 2011
Page: 2922

Mr STEPHEN JONES (1:50 PM) —On Monday this week I advised the House of the terrible floods that have affected my electorate of Throsby in the Illawarra of New South Wales. During Monday night and Tuesday morning over 290 millimetres of rain fell in a small area in just a few hours. There was devastation to property and, tragically, the loss of one man’s life.

I would like to take this opportunity to once again praise the local SES who have taken, and responded to, over 800 calls for assistance. I would also like to heap praise on the local schools, particularly Albion Park Public School at Tongarra and other schools who looked after many kids because their parents simply could not get through flood affected areas to pick them up from school. A number of kids slept overnight in school gymnasiums.

Thankfully, overnight the New South Wales Premier has declared the local government areas of Bega, Bombala, Kiama and Shellharbour as natural disaster affected. As a consequence, the Attorney-General has now announced that the Commonwealth government will provide financial assistance to these communities under the Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements. This is very welcome indeed. I would encourage all local residents, particularly individuals, who have been affected by these floods to avail themselves of this assistance.