The devastation of the recent bushfires in Victoria and NSW has affected us all.
People have suffered the loss of homes, stock and water and wildlife have perished.
I am proud of our community, government agencies, firefighters and volunteers who have come together in this time of need.
This is a story our community knows only too well, experiencing the horrors from Black Saturday and the overwhelming impact it had on our community.
Our firefighters’ efforts are second to none.
Battling fires and caring for their local communities is selfless work.
Our local CFA brigades are aiding East Gippsland, Corryong and travelling to NSW.
Emergency Management Victoria continues to keep residents up to date with regular fire related alerts.
I was touched to see that vets and vet nurses from Healesville Sanctuary have travelled to Bairnsdale and fire burnt Mallacoota to help aid injured wildlife and currently house six injured koalas at the Sanctuary.
It’s pleasing to hear the Federal Government have pledged $50 million at this early stage to help injured wildlife and scorched vegetation.
People are offering up their homes and properties to house those who had to evacuate.
Relief centres are now overrun with goods generously donated and no longer required, which I witnessed firsthand when I visited a relief centre recently.
Victorian Farmers Federation (VFF) alongside Agriculture Victoria are doing a fine job providing services to assist affected farmers by organising donations of much needed fodder, agistment and transport for farm animals.
If you wish to assist, please contact VFF on 1300 882 833.
Although it is great to see people donating, I urge you to be cautious of which organisations you are donating to.
Unfortunately, there are scammers taking advantage of people’s generosity.
Please visit https://pmc.gov.au/registered-bushfire-charities for a list of over 30 trustworthy donation organisations, supported by the National Bushfire Recovery Agency.
Living in a bush fire prone region, we all need to be prepared if bushfires were to strike.
It’s important you and your family have a fire plan.
Know where to go and when to evacuate.
If you want to defend your home, please plan well ahead and seek advice.
Consider the little details like wearing responsible clothing such as cotton denim jeans compared to elastane blended jeans.
Know your neighbours’ movements so you can look out for each other.
This bush fire season has impacted us all and with fires still burning, we need to stay alert and continue care for those who have suffered.