House debates

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Statements by Members


1:55 pm

Photo of Rob MitchellRob Mitchell (McEwen, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

There are many unsung heroes in our communities who have served us for so long and asked for nothing in return. Many of these people are volunteers and I want to put on record my thanks to the volunteers in my community who have dedicated years to protecting us from bushfire—most significantly, the devastating Black Saturday fires.

I want to thank Helen Kenney, who has stepped down as captain of the St Andrews CFA after four years. However, she continues to give up her time, as she has done for the past 12 years, to protect and serve the community. I also want to thank David McGahy, who is stepping down as captain after more than nine years with the Strathewen-Arthurs Creek CFA and has been involved with the CFA for over 40 years. David gave evidence to the Victorian Bushfire Royal Commission and stated, 'We can never forget our firefighters.' He continued to do what was requested on Black Saturday and helped other people, with no idea if their houses were still there or if their families were alive. The same things I said of Helen can be said for David.

Helen and David, like many others in my community, took on herculean tasks with strength, determination, passion and courage. These qualities have been invaluable and their distinguished commitment to their roles second to none. They both knew the responsibilities would be great, particularly in such fire-prone areas, yet never shied away from what needed to be done or said. They put their lives on the line, lost friends to the flames but continued to serve and protect the community to the best of their abilities. On behalf of the people of McEwen I want to thank both Helen and David and wish them the best in their future endeavours. I know they will continue to play both leading and salutary roles in the community. It is people like this whose ongoing voluntary service strengthen our communities.