House debates

Tuesday, 12 February 2019

Statements by Members

Black Saturday Bushfires: 10th Anniversary

1:43 pm

Photo of Russell BroadbentRussell Broadbent (McMillan, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

We remember Black Saturday—the blood of the victims, the ash of the forest and the sweat of those facing the foe. When drowned in our tears new life did spring forth. Until the new dawn, when the sun would rise over the southern hills of the Great Dividing Range to a clear smokeless sky, there was work to do. We did care for men, women and little children. We did suppress the fires, and communities were rebuilt. Most of all we had a lot of grieving to do, and we did. We grieved arm in arm, hand in hand and teardrop by blood-filled teardrop.

Ten years on we remember broken families, deeply wounded and still grieving daily for those lost. They are haunted by the devastation and were defenceless to its ferocity. The hopes, dreams and futures of thousands of Victorians were reduced to smouldering ash in an hour and washed away forever by the autumn rain. Not one of us in this place dares walk in the shoes of those who grieve this day, nor tries to understand. Only fellow travellers can chance that. Please accept this meagre offering. Though we do not know your name, we do know you are there and we want you to know that we care.

When I wrote this piece Ivan Smith was the incident controller at the Grantville fire. He was there on Ash Wednesday and Black Saturday. God bless Ivan—and Gwen for supporting him.