The following statement was read into Parliament earlier by the Hon Fran Logan MLA, Emergency Services Minister.


MR F. LOGAN: I take this opportunity to inform the house of the fantastic efforts of the Pilbara community during severe tropical cyclone Veronica last week. The cyclone posed the biggest risk to the area in a decade. After the worst of the cyclone passed, I travelled to the Pilbara with Premier Mark McGowan and the member for Pilbara, Kevin Michel, to see firsthand the damage the cyclone had brought and personally thank the local government and emergency services volunteers who had travelled from across the state to help the Pilbara community. Cyclone Veronica’s path and unusually slow speed meant the risk of destructive winds and high rainfall was significant. These destructive elements presented a real threat to the communities of Port Hedland, Whim Creek, Point Samson, Cossack, Roebourne and Karratha, as well as many Aboriginal communities throughout the area.

As Veronica hit, State Emergency Service volunteers handled more than 110 requests for assistance. They made temporary repairs to roofs, secured damaged structures, cleared fallen trees and cleaned up debris in heavy downpours with windy and blustery conditions while also navigating flooded areas. I am sure that everyone in this house will join me in thanking those volunteers for putting their lives on hold to help the local communities. I acknowledge the efforts of the Department of Fire and Emergency Services staff and volunteers who played a vital role in the preparation, response and recovery efforts. I also thank the Western Australia Police Force, local governments and other agencies, who worked tirelessly preparing communities for the devastation that Veronica could have caused.

The mayors of both Port Hedland and Karratha remarked to me that they had never experienced such professionalism and preparedness from the emergency services in their regions and they told me that they hold them in the highest regard. It was not just those on the front line; incidents such as these require dedicated teams behind the scenes as well as the support of emergency responders’ families and the employers of volunteers. Thank you.

Finally, I extend my gratitude to the Pilbara residents and visitors who prepared their properties, stayed inside and heeded public warnings. It was a long period and the majority remained vigilant to ensure their own safety. As the focus turns towards ensuring the welfare and resupply of isolated remote communities, the effects of Veronica will be felt for days to come. I assure the Pilbara community that we will continue to support them in their recovery efforts.

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