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Wednesday, 28 November 2018
Page: 11941

Ms SWANSON (Paterson) (10:26): Bushfires are not uncommon in my community. Last weekend the residents of Campvale, Medowie and Salt Ash, which are towns in my electorate, were faced with another bushfire emergency. Within one hour of the fire starting, wind gusts reached over 100 kilometres per hour, forcing the advice level to emergency. Residents were told to implement their bushfire survival plans immediately. For 88 hours intense flames spread through over 1,900 hectares of land. That's over 207 football fields, to put it in relatable terms. When the fires were officially declared under control on Monday morning, it did feel like a miracle. But it was no miracle; this was the result of the tireless hard work of many organisations, businesses, locals and individuals who chipped in, and I recognise and thank them today.

Thank you to the more than 400 firefighters and crews from New South Wales Rural Fire Service brigades, Fire and Rescue New South Wales and the New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Service. Whether they were on the ground or in the control room, the coordination and response from our fireys was admirable and literally life-saving. Thank you to ABC Radio Newcastle for their constant and reliable updates. Due to several mobile carriers experiencing network failure, the community relied on ABC Radio to stay informed and up to date. Thank you to Port Stephens-Hunter Police District for their management of road closures and heavy traffic. Thank you to the Port Stephens Council staff who assisted with the closures. And thank you to every person who lives in Salt Ash, Campvale and Medowie for being bushfire ready. You were prepared, and that preparation paid off, and you backed each other up as well.

Thank you to the countless businesses, organisations and individuals who played a huge part, including the Samaritans, the Australian Red Cross, the New South Wales Department of Education, Irrawang and Raymond Terrace high schools, the Department of Family and Community Services, Live Traffic New South Wales, Hunter Valley Buses, Port Stephens Coaches, Tilligerry RSL and Paul's Corner—we all love Paul's Corner. Thank you, too, to former Prime Minister, the member for Warringah, Tony Abbott, who attended with his Davidson crew to join the effort. I extended my hand of thanks to him in the corridors this week, and I mean that sincerely. Thank you doesn't seem like enough to express my gratitude to all of these people. To any whom I have missed, I do apologise. My community are so grateful for your hard work. We're heading into another busy bushfire season. Please take care, but know you are really valued in our community.