KARL STEFANOVIC, HOST: Well earlier this year, it was the bushfires, now much of New South Wales is being hit by torrential rain and flooding overnight. Check it out, this is what Sydney is waking up to this morning. Storm damage across much of the city’s south west, trees down, homes damaged, the SES working through the night and right now communities on the state’s south coast are facing the threat of rising flood waters with evacuation orders being issued for several communities. Fiona Phillips is the Member for Gilmore which covers much of the impacted areas and she joins us now from the Nowra Emergency Operations Centre. Fiona, thank you so much for your time this morning, it’s been a tough year, bushfires COVID and now floods, how’s everyone holding up this morning?
FIONA PHILLIPS, MEMBER FOR GILMORE: Yes look everybody is obviously on tenterhooks this morning. We’ve had the three evacuations around Nowra last night, around those low lying areas along the Shoalhaven River around Terara and there abouts, and also at Sussex Inlet and at Moruya. It’s just been obviously you know the most horrific time over these past many many months, you know it started off with drought obviously with bushfires, COVID and floods. Like who would have thought all these floods when we’ve gone through all of that. But look everyone has just been amazing, our SES volunteers, the police, everybody working through this to keep people safe.
STEFANOVIC: Yes, it’s still pouring there as we can see and we know those floodwaters are rising. What does the modelling look like for later today?
PHILLIPS: Yes, look, what we’re really worried about is the Shoalhaven River we understand around 1 o’clock and then 5 o’clock we are going to know more. We’re hearing also obviously around Shoalhaven Heads, the river has been opened there now but we’ve just got to see what the impacts are there and obviously the crews and things are starting to come in to change over again this morning. And well I guess assess the damage there. But look it’s just really uncertain times and everybody like they always do is pulling through.
STEFANOVIC: Fiona as we saw in America when they recently had some pretty bad weather going through right up the middle of America, what do you do with people when you evacuate them during COVID. What are you doing with folks to keep them safe, I mean that’s another obstacle that you have to climb over.
PHILLIPS: Yes, it’s a really interesting one Karl, and normally of course during the bushfires people went to the evacuation centres. This time we can’t do that because of COVID, so we’re asking people when they evacuate to either go to family and friends. If not there’s a designated spot where they go to for example in Nowra it’s at the police station and temporary accommodation is being issued. So, certainly COVID over the top of everything is making things interesting but as I said, we will get through this.
STEFANOVIC: Fiona they need great leadership and you’re providing it. They’ll need every bit of in the next couple of days we really appreciate your time and all our thoughts and prayers are with everyone in your area today, dealing with another emergency.
PHILLIPS: And thanks everyone.
STEFANOVIC: Thanks Fiona.