Bill's Media Releases

Message from Bill Shorten remembering Black Saturday

As a hot northerly blows through Victoria today and our radios again list communities at risk, our thoughts are with all those who suffered five years ago.

 

The 173 people who perished in the flames and the 40 more who suffered very serious injuries.

 

The 3500 properties destroyed by the fire.

 

The 78 towns whose histories will forever be divided into ‘before’ and ‘after’ the trauma of those terrible days in February 2009.

 

Those who have endured the long struggle to rebuild their houses and remake their homes.

 

And all the mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, sons and daughters, who will never come home again.

 

The horrors of Black Saturday proved that this country we love can be a fickle and dangerous place.

 

But in the face of the fire, we were reminded again that there is no such thing as an ‘ordinary’ Australian.

 

Amidst the shock and devastation, we saw the very best of our people.

 

The heroism of the CFA and SES.

 

The generosity and optimism of the Lions Clubs, the Rotary Clubs, the Scouts and Girl Guides, the Church groups and the football and netball clubs.

 

All those good-hearted Australians who, in this moment of grief and loss, turned their energies to putting people back on their feet and making shattered communities whole again.

 

The courage, the strength and the sense of community I saw in the wake of Black Saturday will stay with me forever.

 

I pay my deepest respects to the memory of those lost, and to everyone who still bears the burden of grief.

 

And I salute you for the life you have rebuilt – and the courageous example you set to us all.

 

SUNDAY, 9 FEBRUARY 2014

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