House debates

Monday, 19 October 2009

Statements by Members

Northern Rivers Bushfires

6:50 pm

Photo of Janelle SaffinJanelle Saffin (Page, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

I would like to pay tribute in this House to firefighters from four agencies who have been working overtime to control bushfires in my federal electorate of Page, and the neighbouring electorates of Cowper and Richmond, since late last week. It is hard not to mention neighbouring electorates because the firefighters and the fires do not know the boundaries; they have been working over them all. Tragically, a retained Kingscliff fire brigade firefighter, Andrew ‘Packy’ Turnbull, died after battling a grass fire at Fingal Head last Friday night. Mr Turnbull leaves behind five children and two stepchildren. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and many friends in the Tweed shire.

Firefighting crews from New South Wales Rural Fire Service, National Parks and Wildlife Service, Forest New South Wales and New South Wales Fire Brigades have been working long shifts to battle the Centre Road fire near Brooms Head village on the Clarence Coast. I pay tribute to Superintendent David Cook, manager of Far North Coast team New South Wales Rural Fire Service. Last Thursday night this fight came very close to the popular Brooms Head Caravan Park, and now has burnt out 10,000 hectares of Yuraygir National Park towards Clarence Peak, a local landmark in the area. Residents at ‘the Broom’, Wooloweyah, where my adviser lives, Angourie, Sandon, Minnie Water, Wooli, Diggers Camp and Pillar Valley were on high alert over the weekend, but a massive effort by firefighters on the ground and from the air was helped by favourable winds and cooler temperatures. The danger is far from over as little rain has fallen. (Time expired)