Emergency Services | March 27, 2018

MEMBERS STATEMENT - Western Victoria fires

Victorian Parliament - 27 March 2018 - Ms KEALY — The recent fires across south‑west Victoria have been devastating. The Lowan community of Gazette was hit hard in physical loss of assets including homes, stock, fence lines, pasture and hay, but also emotionally and mentally. The Country Fire Authority (CFA) did an amazing job. It is during significant fire events like this that you realise how important it is that Victoria has a guarantee of surge capacity that CFA volunteers and private devices provide.

Through adversity comes amazing support and community spirit. The Gazette CFA shed, which had to be saved from fire by its own brigade members, has now become a sanctuary and essential community meeting place. Thank you to the many people who have ensured that all fire crews and the community have been fed, watered, supported and well‑coordinated throughout the fire event and recovery.

I would like to acknowledge and thank Matt Nield and David Molin of Trotters Coaches, who bravely drove buses filled with guests from the wedding reception at the Pathfinder stables out of the fire to safety. Thank you also to Southern Grampians Shire Council, Red Cross, the CFA and the Department of Health and Human Services for their significant support provided to locals during and following the fire.

The clean‑up and recovery has now begun, but locals have made it very clear they do not want to see ministers coming to town in a few months to give them medals and accolades. What the locals want to see are tangible improvements that will help to protect the community and fight fires more efficiently in the future; an ultralight tanker and radio in the fire shed for the Gazette CFA; Gazette Woolshed Road to be graded through to Judds Lane; and stage 2 of the Hamilton CFA air base upgrade with a generator to be funded.

Finally, thank you to the people of Gazette, who have held together and supported one another in the most difficult of circumstances. You are an inspiration. Thank you.


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