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Thursday, 21 November 2013
Page: 1089

Ms HALL (ShortlandOpposition Whip) (09:36): Last Thursday in the House I raised details of the fire that ravaged the Shortland electorate on 17 October. The fire was very intense in the Central Coast part of my electorate and also in the southern part of Lake Macquarie. Some residents were evacuated from their houses and other residents were unable to return home. The ferocity and the speed with which the fire moved was quite frightening. People were moved to evacuation centres at the Doyalson RSL Club and the Swansea RSL Club. They were official evacuation centres and were manned by the emergency services, along with the Salvation Army. There was a really strong community spirit where everybody came together and provided support for each other. Walking into an RSL club was a very unique experience, finding half-a-dozen dogs walking around, because people brought their pets with them when they were evacuated from their homes.

I would like to thank all those emergency services, as well as the police and of course the Rural Fire Service, who were phenomenal. There have been a number of fundraisers within the electorate since the fires to raise money for the Rural Fire Service. People have given very generously.

Another area of the Shortland electorate that was very badly affected was Catherine Hill Bay. Catherine Hill Bay is a unique mining settlement. It was probably the worst affected of all areas. Three houses were destroyed. The community there has joined together. The Catherine Hill Bay Pub had a fundraiser a couple of weekends ago where they raised in excess of $65,000. The Catherine Hill Bay Bowling Club had a fundraiser on the Sunday. That fundraising is still continuing and the final raffles will be drawn this Sunday. Once again, there is this community spirit—the surf club, the Rural Fire Service, the bowling club, which is a bowling club that is operated by volunteers, and the hotel came together. In addition to that, the settlements of Murrays Beach and Rafferty's were also affected. I would also like to put on the record my thanks to Rafferty's Resorts, Swansea Hotel, Lake Munmorah Bowling Club and the Gwandalan RSL club for the support that they gave the residents when they were forced to leave their homes. I can only say that at times of great stress that is when communities show their resilience.