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Media releases from the Office of Susan Templeman MP.

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SUSAN TEMPLEMAN AND FIONA PHILLIPS IMPACT OF THE BUSHFIRES TRANSCRIPT

February 04, 2020

E&OE TRANSCRIPT
DOORS, HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
CANBERRA
TUESDAY, 4 FEBRUARY 2020

Susan Templeman, Member for Macquarie: We are both really pleased the Prime Minister has agreed to Anthony Albanese request to allow us to talk about the impact of the bushfires have had on our communities and the tragic loss of life, the loss of property and the way it’s changed everybody’s lives over this summer. There’s many different aspects to it and I’ll ask Fiona just to say a few words about what her community has experienced in these last few months.

 

Fiona Phillips, Member for Gilmore:  It seems like yesterday that on the 26 November the last week of Parliament I went home early to my community and unbelievable that the fire is still raging this has been going on it has been dubbed by the local editor of my local paper ‘the forever fire’. It has been tormenting and unrelenting we have seen firestorm after firestorm tragically we have seen the loss of lives .We have seen around 1000 homes lost. We have seen small business lose up to 80% of income we have seen trauma after trauma from our people and it’s not over yet. I can’t emphasise enough how much that the government needs to up their support particularly for small businesses and also access to funding for people impacted.

 

JOURNALIST: (Inaudible)

 

TEMPLEMAN: I think leadership is the last thing that Fiona and I are interested in. Our communities are focussed on how they recover from this fire. In the Blue Mountains and Hawkesbury we had fire that began in November. So it has been months and months of fire with communities trying to recover in parallel to other parts of the electorate burning. I think what we are seeing is a government that has been slow to recognise seriousness of this issue and slow to respond to the needs of the community. I’m slightly cynical that only today weeks after it was announced the details of the concessional loans for small businesses have come out. We welcome those and we hope that they will be a really easy process for businesses in the Blue Mountains and Hawkesbury to fill in those forms and get those loans get the cash in to them sustain. Right now the Blue Mountains and Hawkesbury are open for business even though we still have fire threats. But businesses are seeing customers, not seeing tourists and we have had one dreadful summer where the entire environment has burned 80% of Blue Mountains World Heritage. Businesses have gone really close to the wall and in fact some have actually closed.  So we’ve had the tragedy of a summer of fire we don’t want see an economic tragedy following that. In the Blue Mountains and Hawkesbury if we get assistance fast we will be able to kick our economy along. I think it is going to be a much slower and harder recovery process for places like the South Coast. I lost my home in the 2013 bushfires. I was one of 200 families who in the Blue Mountains whose home was destroyed. It took us years to get back to where we were. This changes your financial future. It changes your outlook on life. I think the devastation we are seeing on the South Coast and down into Victoria means there are massive issues for this government to deal with around mental health and around local economies.

 

JOURNALIST: (Inaudible)

 

TEMPLEMAN: Let’s not stop and smell the roses lets smell the smoke. Let’s remember what this smoke represents.  It represents the worst fire season this country has seen. It represents a loss of life and it represents the devastation of so many communities. This government should be focussed on acting on those things. Helping the recovery and making sure we act on climate change so this isn’t the norm.

 

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