House debates

Tuesday, 22 June 2021

Statements by Members

Butler, Mr Kevin, Butler, Mrs Rhonda

1:38 pm

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

Today I rise to acknowledge Kevin and Rhonda Butler, two wonderful local residents of mine who started a little organisation called BlazeAid. BlazeAid started after the 2009 Black Saturday fires, which still are the worst fires on record for deaths. Kevin and Rhonda got together with a group of locals. We helped them along and auspiced them to get BlazeAid going so it could go out and repair farmers' fences in bushfire and flood affected areas. Right across the nation, since 2009, Kevin and Rhonda have run a team that has brought together people from all walks of life and all countries to come and help our farmers.

It's not just about rebuilding fences. One of the quotes that really struck me is that 'it's about rebuilding lives'. When farmers go out there and they find there's nothing in the field and everything is burnt and gone, here is a bunch of people who will come in—many with no experience—fix the fences and help people get back on their feet. So, when we talk about the truism of people wanting a hand up not a hand out, Kevin and Rhonda espouse that 100 per cent.

It was great last week to be at the Farmer of the Year Awards to see both of these wonderful locals, very good friends of ours, win the Farming Legend of the Year award. It was so well deserved, and we know that wherever there is a disaster that happens in our farming communities we can guarantee BlazeAid will be there, under the stewardship of Kevin and Rhonda Butler, helping farmers in their time of need.