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Monday, 19 March 2018
Page: 1390

Senator DI NATALE (VictoriaLeader of the Australian Greens) (14:06): by leave—On behalf of the Australian Greens, I would also like to express our sympathies for those people affected in the fires that have ravaged Tathra, Bega and south-west Victoria, along with people impacted by the cyclone that's recently hit Darwin.

The fires in south-west Victoria are in part of my home patch. This isn't far away from where my family live. Every time I pack up my bags and come to Canberra during summer, we know that there's a risk that I'm leaving my family in a situation that many of our neighbours are now facing. We've seen 18 homes destroyed around the towns of Terang, Garvoc, Camperdown and Gazette; 40,000 hectares burnt; a lot of livestock lost; and farmers who are now seriously suffering.

We heard this morning that in Tathra 70 homes and other buildings have been destroyed. Four people have been treated for smoke inhalation. We have seen a volunteer injured. And, by all accounts, we're extremely lucky that there have not been more casualties.

As we've heard, on the other side of the country, in the Top End, Cyclone Marcus has rolled through Darwin and, luckily, while the impact has resulted in schools being closed, some services being shut and electricity being lost, there are no major casualties as a result of that cyclone.

I want to commend all of those people in their local communities who have been affected by these disasters and who have rallied together to help each other. It's always, I think, interesting that when we're faced with adversity like this we see the best in people. We see people rallying together, helping their neighbours, ensuring that they're safe and, quite literally, giving them the shirt off their back. I want to pay tribute to the emergency service workers, many of whom are still working tirelessly to get fires under control, and those people in the Northern Territory who are cleaning up after Cyclone Marcus.

On behalf of the Australian Greens, once again, I'd like to express my sympathies to people who have lost property and people who have suffered hardship, including the farmers who have lost their livestock. We give thanks that, at this stage, we have not seen any serious casualties.