Yet again, residents of the Hawkesbury have faced catastrophic flooding, less than three months after the double-flood-whammy of March and April. This was the largest flood we've seen since 1978.
As always, we are grateful to the emergency services who supported community members to evacuate safely and to access supplies when they were isolated, helped by local food charities. The volunteers and staff of the SES and the RFS, the Australian Defence Force, police, Fire and Rescue New South Wales, Resilience New South Wales and all the agencies who were involved are to be commended.
When the waters are rising, our flooding makes news, but I need people to know that the effects of the floods are far from over.
There are 24 homes destroyed. Two hundred and forty-six are uninhabitable. Another 500 are damaged. Fifty-seven businesses were destroyed or damaged. People are still isolated because of damaged roads and landslides, or they have very fragile access.
The environmental damage has to be seen to be believed. There are gouged-out riverbanks with unrepaired damage from previous floods compounded by this one. Farmers have silt and sand across hectares of land or land that has simply disappeared. There are dunes of sand throughout the Macdonald Valley.
Our government, from the Prime Minister down, responded fast and collaboratively, but we know that much more is needed. I want my community to know that we will not walk just because the cameras have gone.