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Tuesday, 8 May 2018
Page: 3257

Mr CRAIG KELLY (Hughes) (13:52): One of the great things about living in the southern suburbs of Sydney, in the electorate of Hughes, is the natural bushland that surrounds us. However, this comes with the risk of bushfires, for bushfires are as much a part of our natural environment as the sun or the rain, and our history tells us how devastating these bushfires can be. In the 1994 fires, we lost 91 homes in Como-Jannali, nine at Alfords Point and five at Menai and Bangor. In the 2002 fires, we lost 10 homes at Engadine and homes in Sandy Point and Wattle Grove. Tragically, since 1977 there have been 11 deaths of volunteer firefighters in the Sutherland shire.

So, when three weeks ago fires again threatened our local community, we braced for the worst. Yet, when the smoke cleared, the only property lost was one children's cubbyhouse. Some have called this a miracle. However, I don't believe it was. It was a result of years of planning and countless hours of training and the courage and determination of more than 500 firefighters on those two days. So, on behalf of all the residents of my local community, I simply say a big thank you to the Rural Fire Service, to the SES, to Fire and Rescue New South Wales and to all those who kept our community safe on that dreadful weekend.