My thoughts are with the communities in New South Wales who continue to be affected today by heavy rains and flooding right across the state. The situation remains very serious for much of the Mid North Coast and for parts of Western Sydney, where flooding is having a devastating impact on lives and livelihoods.
This morning I had a chance to speak with Kim Edwards, who's the commander of the Waverley/Woollahra SES branch—my own SES branch—to get an update on how things are looking on the ground. Over the weekend my own area was impacted by flash and localised flooding. The unit responded to 57 call-outs for assistance, making for a busy weekend.
Certainly, compared to other parts of the country, my electorate of Wentworth has avoided the worst impacts of the deluge, but it hasn't stopped the team there from helping in areas where it's most needed. Today and overnight the Waverley/Woollahra unit of the SES had people stationed in Windsor and in other parts of Western Sydney, helping to fill sandbags, operate the control rooms and safely evacuate people to higher ground.
The federal government is providing pragmatic and immediate assistance to those affected, through the disaster recovery payment and the disaster recovery allowance. We're also working closely with the New South Wales government to provide further financial assistance under the joint disaster recovery funding arrangements and we stand ready to provide further assistance if needed.
Thank you to Kim and the entire Waverley/Woollahra SES and volunteers for selflessly putting themselves on the line to protect lives and property during this difficult and challenging time.