WESTERN VICTORIAN FIRESMarch 29, 2018
Member for Polwarth, Richard Riordan MP, this week used Parliament to acknowledge and thank the 1000’s of volunteers and community members who have stepped up to the plate to help our fire ravaged areas.
“It has been a difficult few weeks for many of my constituents in the Corangamite shire — namely, the towns of Cobden, Terang and Camperdown — and the nearby community of Garvoc in the Moyne shire, who were all suddenly called to action late in the evening of Saturday, 17 March, by the St Patrick’s Day fires which destroyed and damaged homes, livestock, sheds and property. It has been a trying time for all, but as is often the case in Australia at times like this the very best in human nature can come to the fore. The fires were stopped and contained and no lives were lost in difficult conditions, and I would like to record my very greatest praise of the nearly 1000 Country Fire Authority and Victoria State Emergency Service volunteers who were able to spring into action late on a Saturday night.
“I know from firsthand experience that, despite the attendance at birthdays, weddings and other gatherings across the affected communities on that Saturday night, the moment the alarms were called volunteers swung into action. Late on a dark, wild night, without power, without the air support that we so rely on to fight wildfires, with dying mobile phone coverage, my Polwarth communities and volunteers were able to do what they do best. But the heroes were not only out fighting fires. There were stories of people quickly calling on their elderly and frail neighbours to keep them safe and of new families being sheltered and protected by those who had seen it all before in the Ash Wednesday fires. I was particularly impressed with wonderful people like Evelyn Grayland, Jocelyn Martin and Adriana Bekker, to name but a few, who swung into action for days on end to make and prepare food for those left homeless and for those out fighting fires,” Mr Riordan said.
It is this wonderful community spirit that helped keep families and people safe, and it is this same spirit that will help those affected recover over coming months and years.