I pay tribute to the volunteers of the Randwick Botany State Emergency Service whose awards night I was privileged to attend last Friday.
Made up almost entirely of volunteers, the SES consists of 229 units throughout New South Wales, comprising approximately 10,000 volunteer members.
I like to describe the trusty orange overalls as our community's insurance policy. When Mother Nature reminds us of her power, it is the SES volunteers who clean up and put us back on our feet.
In 2014, Randwick Botany SES volunteers completed 7,500 hours of training and operations and 2,000 hours attending community events, including the White Ribbon Walk, traffic control and traffic management.
This year they have responded to 274 calls for assistance, two thirds of which were in the last six weeks, due to two large storms.
Over the big storm period, they did five flood rescues around the Sydney Airport region, saving people from dangerous floodwaters. Lots of trees were removed and lots of roofs were repaired. They are there to do anything, 24/7.
I would like to pay tribute to Rod Christiansen, Outstanding Community Volunteer; Maria Varvarisos for Outstanding Commitment to the SES; and to Peter Struck and Zayad Mechrecki for their National Medals.
I would also like to pay particular tribute to Barry Askew (pictured), who retired after 23 years of service.