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Emergency services volunteers reflect country tenacity.



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23 October 2000 M193/2000

EMERGENCY SERVICES VOLUNTEERS REFLECT COUNTRY TENACITY

Emergency Services volunteers displayed all of characteristics of commitment, determination and tenacity that country Australians show during times of hardship, the Regional Services Minister, Senator Ian Macdonald, said today.

Attending the opening of the Eungella Emergency Services Building by the Governor-General of Australia, Sir William Deane, near Mackay today, Senator Macdonald said that Emergency Services volunteers played a vital and often unheralded role in support of regional communities.

"Regional Australia is often ravaged by the impact of natural disaster at which times the dedication and selflessness of emergency service volunteers plays a significant part in protecting and restoring our country communities," Senator Macdonald said.

"This willingness to help your neighbours is a fundamental part of the country way of life."

"The spirit shown by volunteers across Australia reflects the spirit and determination country Australians always show in the face of adversity. You simply can’t keep country Australians down."

Senator Macdonald said the presence of the Governor-General at the opening reflected the simple reality that while communities like Eungella are small in terms of their population, they big in terms of their heart and in the commitment of their volunteers.

"The opening of this facility in a small country community might not seem much in national terms, but these services play a vital and irreplaceable role in regional Australia - in every State and Territory. That’s why I am here, and that’s why the Governor-General, in particular, is here."

"The volunteer ethos is alive and well in rural and regional areas- embodied particularly in organisations like the Emergency Services - and these volunteers deserved all the praise the Governor-General heaped on them today.

"I add my personal congratulations for the sterling approach taken by Emergency Services during disasters in the past, and indeed for the work they will inevitably have to do in confronting crises in the future," Senator Macdonald said.

Media Contact: David Moore: (07) 4771 3066 / (0417) 774 724

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© Commonwealth of Australia 2000 Last updated:  Friday, 27 October 2000