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Monday, 13 February 2017
Page: 851

Mr TED O'BRIEN (Fairfax) (16:36): So busy are the lives of everyday Australians that it sometimes takes a major event for us to pause, take a step back and reflect on how lucky we are and to remind ourselves of how fundamentally decent, brave and generous our fellow Australians are. Such an event occurred in my electorate of Fairfax only last month when, on Thursday, 19 January, a small flame became a roaring inferno lasting five days and threatening Coolum, Peregian Springs and surrounding areas. This fire would have become a catastrophe for not only properties but lives if it were not for those who put themselves in harm's way to protect others.

I rise today in this, our federal chamber, with a message to the rural fire brigades of Doonan, Valdora, Maroochy River, Bli Bli, Eumundi, Maleny, Verrierdale, Ilkley, Landsborough, Beerwah, Tinbeerwah and Kiels Mountain and to the staff from the Rural Fire Service in Caloundra, the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service, the Queensland Fire and Rescue Service and Sunshine Coast Council crews and also to that legendary aviation business McDermott Aviation. On behalf of this parliament and on behalf of the Sunshine Coast community, to you who serve, to you who protect, for you who have protected us from the recent Coolum-Peregian Springs fires, I offer my very sincere and heartfelt thankyou.