Community leaders have expressed their thanks and appreciation for the work ADF personnel have been doing in their flood-affected communities.

Senior commanders from Operation NSW Flood Assist recently conducted an on-the-ground assessment of the mid-north coast, one of the hardest hit areas of the recent NSW floods.

Commander of Joint Task Force 629 Rear Admiral Robert Plath said the importance of the efforts of the 800 soldiers, sailors and air men and women would not be overstated.

“It’s clear from the people who came up to us in the street and from the meetings we had with local mayors that we are making an important difference to the lives of some of those who have been hardest hit by the floods,” Rear Admiral Plath said.

Rear Admiral Plath was joined by Commander of Joint Task Group 629.1 and Operation NSW Flood Assist Brigadier Mick Garraway for a series of meetings with local community and emergency management leaders in Coffs Harbour, Kempsey, Port Macquarie and Taree.

“We heard a number of powerful stories of the impact our efforts have been having on locals – some of whom thought they would be cleaning up for months but we were able to help them clear away the flood debris and damage in a matter of hours,” Brigadier Garraway said.

The Mayor of Coffs Harbour, Denise Knight, expressed her appreciation for the ADF.

“On behalf of the community, thank you, we really appreciate what you’re doing,” Councillor Knight said.

The comments were echoed by other mayors in the region.

“They are exceptional,” Kempsey Mayor Liz Campbell said.

“Seeing ADF personnel working so hard in our community is humbling – my heartfelt thanks to all of you,” Taree Mayor David West said.

Operation NSW Flood Assist was established after a request for assistance from the NSW Government on March 22.