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Monday, 29 November 2004
Page: 21


Mr BARTLETT (1:53 PM) —Last Saturday I attended a presentation ceremony for members of the local brigades of the Rural Fire Service, to present the national medal and long service awards. This was the third such ceremony in the last two months. Also in that time I attended a similar ceremony for the State Emergency Service members in the Blue Mountains. All these ceremonies recognised the outstanding efforts of close to 100 men and women in the local brigades and SES. These awards range from 15 years to 50 years of service to the local community—voluntary service totalling many hundreds of years, with hundreds of hours for each of those years; service at great personal cost and cost to their own families; and service on the front line, which, in the face of blazing infernos and other dangers, involves serious risks to their own lives.

Most communities have their army of emergency service and firefighting volunteers, yet the nature of the Blue Mountains makes us particularly prone to the fury of nature. The incredible efforts of the men and women of organisations such as the RFS and the SES, not to mention others such as the ambulance service and the Red Cross, provide much-needed and greatly appreciated protection for our local community. We thank them for their outstanding effort and congratulate them for these thoroughly deserved awards.