Ms JENNY AITCHISON (Maitland)—In six short months the people of New South Wales have endured extreme drought, deadly bushfires, damaging floods and the frightening and disruptive COVID-19 pandemic. For our first responders, these crises have come on top of the everyday business of house fires, car crashes, crime, life‑threatening illnesses and traumatic injuries.

In recognition of this incredible work, I thank our emergency services personnel—those brave people who protect, defend and care for us every day. In every instance, our first responders put our needs before their needs and the needs of their families—whether it is facing raging flames on a fireground, arriving to a single-vehicle accident or saving lives and dealing with the trauma and tragedy at the scene, or braving torrents of floodwater to bring others to safety.

Many of these everyday heroes have devoted their careers to caring for and protecting others, and there are thousands of volunteers who choose to give of their own time to support our communities during their darkest hours. You are all vital to our community. Our first responders rightly deserve this inaugural day of thanks, but our gratitude runs real and deep every day of the year.