In parliament last week I took the opportunity to formally thank the Country Fire Service for their heroic actions during the bushfires in South Australia earlier this year.
Please also find the text of my speech below:
"Early in the new year, the state of South Australia—and in particular my
electorate—was faced with a major emergency in the emergence of the Sampson Flat bushfire.
Nothing, I think, exhibits the adversity of this country quite like bushfire. It is particularly confronting to all those who have to
deal with it, those people who live in bushfire-prone areas, but it also elicits a great deal of sympathy and concern
from people not just in my state but around the country.
I would like to thank all those emergency service volunteers and personnel who were integral to keeping areas
of my electorate and, indeed, other areas of South Australia safe. In particular I want to thank the brigades in
my area: the Alma, Balaklava, Clare, Concordia, Dalkeith, Dublin, Freeling, Gawler River, Greenock, Hamley
Bridge, Kapunda, Lyndoch, Mallala, Manoora, Mudla Wirra, Northern Barossa Group, Nuriootpa, One Tree
Hill, Owen, Port Wakefield, Rhynie, Riverton, Roseworthy, Saddleworth, Salisbury, Shea-Oak Log, Tanunda,
Tarlee, Two Wells, Virginia, Waterloo, Watervale, Williamstown and Woolshed/Wasleys brigades. I would like
to thank all of those brigades for their commitment in confronting these bushfires, which were truly terrifying.
If you went up to One Tree Hill or Williamstown on the days of the fires, as I did, you really were confronted by
a vision of Hades. It was truly terrifying. So, to those men and women who were out in the thick of it, we extend
our thanks and our appreciation for their efforts in protecting human life. We were very lucky not to have any
lives lost in these bushfires, because people sensibly evacuated, and I would like to thank the residents for that.
I would particularly like to thank Captain Tom Walsh of the One Tree Hill CFS brigade. He stepped into that
role just this year, and his was one of the first brigades to respond. I would like to thank Captain Justin Baxter
of the Dalkeith brigade. I am a member of the brigade, but I do not do nearly as much as the captain and his
crew. They, along with all the other community members, really did contribute so much.
I would also like to thank Tony Piccolo, the Minister for Emergency Services, and Michael Keenan, the Minister for Justice, who
both acted as you would expect, allowing the federal government, the state government and the local council all
to act together to work against what was a terrible emergency in my state and in my electorate. Thank you to all
of those who contributed to that effort"