*This speech was delivered in the Senate on 26/10/22.
It's been a really difficult few weeks for Tassie.
Hundreds of homes and businesses have been hit hard by the floods. To everyone affected, my heart goes out to you.
Tammy and I are here to help you with whatever you need, and we'll do whatever we can to help. Please don't be afraid to call.
It's not going to be an easy road to recovery, and we also know you're just coming out of COVID, especially small businesses, and that you're already bearing the brunt.
Places like Wing's Wildlife Park took a lot of damage. Concrete slabs were lifted by the water, crashing animal enclosures into each other. Echidnas clung to their wire walls until rescuers could come. Their wildlife hospital is completely gone, and the main business centre and cafe have been badly damaged. Their repairs will cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.
The damage to Wing's was made worse by a lack of action following past weather events. In June hundreds of trees came down in storms and ended up in the creeks, and they weren't removed. When the floodwaters came down last week, those trees were lifted and carried further downstream. When the trees got to Wing's, they formed a dam and all hell broke loose, I can assure you.
If those trees had been cleaned up after the storms, Wing's may have been okay and certainly wouldn't have got the battering it received in the last few weeks. The floods still would have hit them, but the impact wouldn't have been as bad.
This is why we are talking about a national guard or some sort of disaster relief team. They wouldn't just go in and help clean up after weather events that have happened; they would also help stop things from getting really bad in the first place. A national guard could have cleaned up those trees back in June and, hopefully, have saved Wing's Wildlife Park from the pain it has recently gone through.
It's clearer than ever that we need to get our skates on and get moving on a national guard for domestic use.
These weather events are happening more often and are becoming more severe.
The futures of businesses like Wing's Wildlife Park, I can assure you, depend on it.