No dictionary has the word ‘disastertunity’ in it, but I picked up this word from former Mayor of The Hills Shire Council, Councillor Yvonne Keane, who would talk about the salvation of a disaster by turning it into a ‘disastertunity’. Right now Hawkesbury tradies have an opportunity to work locally – rebuilding the homes, sheds, fences and infrastructure that were lost in the recent bushfires. That’s the disastertunity!
I want to encourage local tradies, suppliers and other local businesses to register with the new government online business portal, which will make government agencies aware of the services you provide. It’s easy to register, just go to the Tenders NSW website tenders.nsw.gov.au or call 1800 679 289. The NSW Government is supporting local tradies for local jobs.
The recent bushfires and floods have seen all three tiers of government working together for our community. I ask you to be patient as Councils repair and replace signage and infrastructure. Energy providers have been dealing with the enormous task of restoring power to fire ravaged and flood affected properties. In Hawkesbury, the bushfires destroyed twenty four homes and a further fourteen were damaged. Sixty four outbuildings were destroyed, whilst another thirty were damaged. In comparison, the neighbouring Blue Mountains electorate lost twenty one homes and west of Hawkesbury, Lithgow had fifty four homes destroyed. Our thoughts are with the communities in Southern NSW who suffered even heavier losses. Overall, the destruction of even one home is dreadful. It’s hard to imagine how difficult the mammoth task of rebuilding will be in some parts of NSW.
Hawkesbury locals are resilient, but these catastrophic circumstances can test people’s mental health. When the flock of friends, volunteers and agencies have left the scene, the wounds that have been inflicted will remain. Seeking counselling may not be your first reaction, but it should be a priority. Sometimes it is good just to be able to talk about your feelings without fear of judgement or recrimination. If you feel you need help please access the NSW Mental Health Line on 1800 011 511 or Lifeline on 131 114.