Senate debates

Wednesday, 23 November 2022

Statements by Senators

Emergency Services

1:56 pm

Photo of Karen GroganKaren Grogan (SA, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

Today I acknowledge and thank the continued work of our state emergency services, our country fire services and their dedicated volunteers who are working tirelessly to assist communities impacted by floods across Australia. In my home state of South Australia, we have a major emergency declared as floodwaters in the Murray River content to rise, with the potential for flows to reach 220 gigalitres a day by early December. The Murray River will be inundated in the worst-case scenario under those numbers, with a real possibility of a second flood peak in December and into early January. Already, we have dedicated volunteers who have been deployed to the flood-affected areas of South Australia, and I could not be more grateful for the commitment that they have made to these communities. Our local residents are preparing to fight to protect their properties, their businesses and the community, but they also rely on the Herculean efforts of our emergency services who work to support our communities at risk.

My heart goes out to those facing loss, hardship, extreme stress and uncertainty as the flooding continues. Disaster recovery funding arrangements are now in place to help with counter-disaster operations and with clean-up activities. Both state and the federal governments have committed to support those communities. We have almost 11½ thousand sandbags going into the Riverland over the weekend, and about 110 tons of sand each day. Our amazing volunteers are responding so quickly and, after the heavy rainfall, the extreme winds, the stormy conditions and the uncertainty, the dedication that all of these people have shown throughout these natural disasters and emergencies plays a vital role in keeping our communities and our country safe.