Bushfires are not uncommon in my community. And last weekend, the residents of Campvale, Medowie and Salt Ash, which are towns in my electorate, were faced with yet another bushfire emergency.
Within one hour of the fire starting, wind gusts reached 100 kilometres per hour, forcing the advice level to ‘emergency’. Residents were told to implement their bush fire survival plans immediately.
For 88 hours, intense flames spread through over 1900 hectares of land – that’s the size of 207 football fields.
When the fires were officially declared “under control” on Monday morning, it seemed like a miracle that no homes or lives were lost.
But this was no miracle.
This was the result of the tireless hard work of many organisations, businesses, locals and individuals who chipped in. I’d like to recognise and thank them today.
Thank you to the more than 400 firefighters and crews from NSW Rural Fire Service, Fire and Rescue NSW and NSW National Parks and Wildlife Services.
Whether they were on the ground or in the control room, the coordination and response from our firies was admirable and it was lifesaving – literally.
Thank you to ABC Radio Newcastle for their constant and reliable updates. Due to several mobile phone carriers experiencing network failure, the community relied on ABC Radio to stay informed and up to date.
Thank you to Port Stephens Hunter Police District for their management of road closures and heavy traffic.
Thank you to Port Stephens Council staff who assisted with these road closures.
Thank you to every person who lives in Salt Ash, Campvale and Medowie for being bush fire ready. You were prepared and that preparation paid off.
And thank you to the countless number of businesses, organisations and individuals who played a huge part including:
Thank you to former Prime Minister, the Member for Warringah, Tony Abbott, who attended with his Davidson crew to join the effort.
Thank you doesn’t seem like enough to express my gratitude to all of these people, and any who I may have missed. Along with my community, we are so grateful for your hard work.
Parliament House, Canberra
28 November 2018