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Monday, 2 May 2016
Page: 4131


Mr WHITELEY (BraddonGovernment Whip) (16:14): On 3 February I spoke in the main chamber on the bushfires that had ravaged Tasmania this summer. In that speech I informed the House that more than 107,000 hectares had been burnt and, at the time, 1.16 per cent of the Tasmanian World Heritage area had been destroyed. The firefighting effort involved hundreds of firefighters from interstate as well as the Tasmania Fire Service, the SES, Forestry Tasmania and, of course, Parks &Wildlife officers.

To thank everyone who contributed to the firefighting effort, a family fun day was held over the weekend with lots of live music, fire trucks and a barbeque. I was really disappointed that my diary did not allow me to attend at the weekend, but I hear they had a great afternoon, with tremendous community spirit, to thank the fireys for the great work they had done. For the rural fire service, it was the biggest remote area firefighting deployment they had ever done but, despite the challenge, all of the emergency personnel came together as a strong team and worked tirelessly for many, many weeks to extinguish the fires. As firefighter Gordon Morrison put it:

Out of all of the devastation the seeds of friendship sprouted.

I want to add my own personal and sincere thanks to those who helped in some way this summer. I know I speak on behalf of everyone in Braddon—they are incredibly grateful for your service in our time of need. May God continue to keep you safe.