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Remembering Black Tuesday and Black Saturday

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The Hon Michael Keenan MP Minister for Justice

Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Counter Terrorism


7 February 2017

Remembering Black Tuesday and Black Saturday

Today we pause to mark 50 years since the devastating Black Tuesday bushfires in Tasmania and the eighth anniversary of Victoria’s Black Saturday bushfires.

We remember those who lost their lives, and our thoughts are with those who lost loved ones, the many injured and the communities affected by the fires.

What happened on 7 February 1967 was unprecedented; in a single day bushfires claimed 64 lives, injured 900 people and destroyed 1,400 homes in Tasmania.

Eight years ago today, Victoria’s Black Saturday fires were catastrophic, claiming 173 lives, injuring more than 400 people and destroying more than 2,000 houses.

Among the wrenching accounts of fear and grief were stories of resilience, survival and communities united in support for one another.

While each of these days will be remembered differently by all those affected, they have had very clear and positive impacts on how Australia prepares and responds to bushfires.

As a result of Black Tuesday, much greater attention was given to firefighting equipment and, importantly, mitigation - namely fuel reduction burns.

As a result of Black Saturday, there were significant changes in bushfire policy and emergency management, including clearer warnings and alerts, and an updated fire danger rating system.

The Coalition Government is committed to making continued improvements in emergency management capabilities and policies, and working cooperatively with our state and territory counterparts.

As the sunburnt country, bushfires are inevitable. As we pause today to remember those lost, we must also acknowledge the resilience of our country and its people.

Media contacts: Danielle McKay 0438 390 273 or Shannen Wilkinson 0476 820 816