I WANT to thank each and every one of you for your patience during what has been a very challenging time for everyone.
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Who would have ever thought that a week ago a gas pipeline would be breached in the Macquarie River, from recent flooding, impacting more than 20,000 gas customers across the area?
I have been in constant contact with both the Australia Pipeline Authority and Jemena to ensure that they are providing consistent information and providing the community with as many updates as possible as they attempt to reconnect customers.
Whilst gas supply has been restored to Bathurst, alternative measures are still being put in place for Oberon, Lithgow and Wallerawang and hopefully we will see gas restored to these properties over the next week.
I understand it is a very distressing situation for everyone, but my number one priority has been the safety of our community.
I've also made it very clear that my expectation is for these gas companies to continue to mobilise every resource available to them to fix this issue as soon as possible.
And I make no apologies for putting that pressure on them to keep the community informed every step of the way.
As work continues many boots are on the ground, in our streets, door-knocking each house and business to reinstate gas supply.
That has also seen an army of state government agencies assisting in this process, as well as people from across this state and country flying in to assist.
Thank you to our RFS, SES, Police, Resilience NSW, FRNSW, councils, Department of Community and Justice, Public Works, Transport for NSW, Service NSW and the amazing army of volunteers.
I have heard of some incredible stories of neighbours looking out for one another, strangers sharing blankets or kettles and families making sure their loved ones are okay.
I also want to extend my sincere thanks to the community for their patience and cooperation.
A special shout out to the tradies, contractors and community members who have shown what community spirit is all about over the past week.
Some of these worked to ensure the elderly and vulnerable had temporary access to hot water.
We are all grateful that the timeline for restoring gas will not take the six to seven weeks that was initially proposed - even though works will continue on the pipeline after the gas has been restored to customers.
Some people may still be in need of welfare assistance so please contact Service NSW on their dedicated emergency line on 13 77 88.
If you have questions about your gas connection then please contact Jemena on 101 909.
And finally, a reminder to please not attempt to connect gas yourself. It is very dangerous.
All gas appliances, such as barbecues, must stay outside. They cannot be brought inside and turned on as they pose a risk to your safety.
Finally, I want to thank the three councils that have also worked to provide shower facilities across the Oberon, Lithgow, Wallerawang and Bathurst local government areas.
Together we are getting this done and I look forward to the last customer being connected as soon as possible.
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