This week, Parliament was in session. I wasn't looking forward to the week in Sydney as I would have rather been back in the region to provide whatever assistance I could with the clean-up from the weekend's storms.
'Twas a dark and stormy night
It’s a shame that it takes a tragedy to bring out what's great about a community, but there's no doubt that the undeniable spirit of Aussie mateship was on display in the aftermath of the recent weather events in Kiama.
It didn't matter what the job was – our service personnel and volunteers simply got on with it.
In an age where many are concerned about the declining number of people involving themselves in charity and community groups, thank God for all of those wonderful and dedicated people who put aside their own life's activities and events to provide assistance and help to those who need it.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank all those who helped and are continuing to help with the disaster effort, the clean up and the provision of assistance.
I'd also like to make mention of the Mayor of Kiama Brian Petschler, his General Manager Michael Forsyth and Kiama Council staff who were so helpful and committed to providing whatever assistance they could.
When I returned to Parliament late Monday night after the hectic weekend, I sat down and recorded my recollection of events - and when Parliament resumed on Tuesday, I delivered the speech to the House. The Hansard link is: http://www.parliament.nsw.gov.au/Prod/parlment/hansart.nsf/V3Key/LA20130226044?open&refNavID=HA8_1
A video copy of this speech is also on my Facebook page for those that are interested.
A Premier visit
On the morning of the storm, throughout the day and early on Monday I spoke several times with the Premier and asked him to come to our region to survey the damage prior to the State's cabinet meeting on Monday afternoon.
I was delighted he accepted my offer to come to our region and I would like to express my sincere thanks to our Premier for assisting in opening up disaster relief funding so quickly after the storm event not to mention his genuine and sincere interest in the welfare of our residents.
Watching the social media feed on both twitter and facebook was fascinating after the Kiama storms. It was a tweet just after 3AM from the SES that informed me of the tornado in the township. Throughout the day pictures, movies and comments flowed and it was interesting seeing personal reactions and reflections live on my phone – times have certainly changed.
Railing about rail
This week, I gave a Private Members Statement in the House about local rail services. As a public transport user, I feel very strongly about improving public transport and I wanted to place on the record some of my comments about changes made to date as well as some things I would like the Government to consider. My speech can be read here: http://www.parliament.nsw.gov.au/Prod/parlment/hansart.nsf/V3Key/LA20130228162?open&refNavID=HA8_1
Gareth Ward is the State Member for Kiama. Email: Kiama@parliament.nsw.gov.au; Facebook: Gareth James Ward; Twitter: garethjward