Mr STEPHEN JONES(Whitlam) (13:49): For the last two weeks, the Illawarra has battled wild weather. After a week of being hit by hard, heavy-hitting rain we had flash flooding, which resulted in road closures, public transport disruptions and damage to many properties throughout the region. It was a difficult time for our local SES, police and rescue workers. There were over 400 calls for help across the region and at least 30 rescues in the Unanderra area alone, with people in cars getting stuck in floodwaters, damage to property and roads closed, causing lots of traffic disruption.
I want to thank the rescue workers, the police, the SES and the volunteers for their service to the community and for all the work they have done over the last couple of weeks and every week throughout the year. I want to make special mention of the Illawarra South Coast SES, the City of Shellharbour unit and the men and women of the Lake Illawarra Local Area Command.
Amidst all of this, our local community suffered a terrible, terrible loss. On Thursday last week, an 11-year-old boy, Ryan Teasdale, went missing in the floodwaters. The community rallied around the SES, the police and the hundreds of volunteers in search for young Ryan. Amongst the volunteers were two off-duty firefighters who searched waterways near Riley Park into the early hours of the morning. Tragically, after an extensive search, young Ryan's body was found and recovered. Words cannot express the sadness the entire community feels, and my thoughts, and I am sure every man's and woman's thoughts here, go out in support of the community and this young boy's family.