BLUE MOUNTAINS BUSHFIRES

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Joined the Premier with Deputy RFS Commissioner Rogers to be briefed on fires in the Blue Mountains followed by tour of the fire grounds in Blackheath and Mt Victoria. We were as always very impressed by the coordination of all the various government agencies, the dedication of the volunteers and the resilience of the communities we spoke with over the day.

The recent bushfires in New South Wales,  are unprecedented in the State's history. The bushfires came on the back of a historic deep and sustained drought, which still prevails across approximately 99 per cent of the State. The impact of these fires has been nothing short of devastating. No‑one, even those not directly impacted by the flames, can un-see the images of fires across our State—the images of homes, businesses, farms and townships being destroyed by fire—or the really moving and powerful images of people fleeing from the insatiable advance of huge fire fronts. 

Many in the Blue Mountains have been reliving previous traumatic bushfire experiences as a result of these recent fires. I encourage them to avail themselves of the mental health resources that the State and Federal governments have put in place to assist. 

I toured the bushfire‑affected areas with the Premier and prior to that with Minister Kean. We went out to meet firefighters and to look at the damage. Minister Kean clearly wanted to be there for the National Parks and Wildlife Service fire teams, which were extensively involved in dealing with the Blue Mountains fires, and the RFS. The Premier and I visited communities up to Mount Victoria and were briefed on the situation with the fires but there were much more pressing areas in the State for the Premier and Minister to attend. I thank them for coming and the community appreciated seeing them.