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Wednesday, 23 May 2018
Page: 4427

Mr BRIAN MITCHELL (Lyons) (09:50): This week, we celebrate National Volunteers Week, saying thank you to the six million Australians who volunteer their time in all manner of ways. And today is Wear Orange Wednesday, or WOW Day, which is why I'm sporting this handsome, bright tie!

Wear Orange Wednesday celebrates this nation's State Emergency Services and their amazing volunteers. Think for a minute about what SES volunteers do. Whenever there's a storm, a flood or a bushfire, you will see people of all shapes and sizes and from all walks of life in orange overalls. They will be there. They will have taken time off work; they will have been awakened in the middle of the night, or perhaps even left a family get-together. They will have put on their gear, quietly closing the door behind them so they don't wake up their spouse or their kids, and they will head into danger in the middle of the night to keep the rest of us safe.

Across my regional and rural electorate, I have many SES teams and they're all amazing. In recent years, they've been on hand to deal with devastating floods and bushfires, as well as being a vital part of major events, like Agfest, held recently. Today, I would like to pay particular attention to the men and women of the Derwent Valley. Last week, southern Tasmania experienced a major weather event which flooded the centre of Hobart. It also flooded parts of the Derwent Valley north of Hobart and washed away bridges, cutting off the community of Molesworth. The SES was there to help keep the community safe, to get food and water to the folk of Molesworth and to clear debris. I know it's dangerous to name names in case someone is missed out, but I want to thank Nigel King; Chris Draffin; Troy Bester; the Lawrence family—Jason, Dean, Nicole, Thomas and Alec; Reece Bradley; Alan Baker; Nadia Lobb; Adrian James; Daniel Barry and, I'm sure, so many others behind the scenes.

And the work of the SES never ends. Two nights ago, southern Tasmania experienced severe winds that toppled century-old trees in the botanical gardens. The SES was there. Yesterday in Granton, just south of the town of New Norfolk, the SES was there to pull a bloke out of a car following a traffic accident. And after all this they go home, the overalls go into the washing machine, they climb back into bed and get back to their normal lives, ready for the next event.

They are amazing, our heroes in orange, and they deserve our thanks. They also deserve better. I think it's shameful that we don't have in place legislated annual leave support for those without volunteer leave in their workplace agreements. And for those who give so much of themselves, the least we could do is to equip them properly. There's a Central Highlands ambo service in my electorate. They have an ambulance—it's a city van. They need a four-wheel drive like they used to have.

Let's do better by our volunteers. To everyone who volunteers for any reason: thank you. And to the SES teams across Lyons, I will always have your back and at #thankyouses