The Leader of the Opposition, Bill Shorten today acknowledged the work of emergency services personnel and community organisations whose dedication and professionalism was crucial in firstly containing the fires and then assisting the Blue Mountains community to rebuild their homes, their businesses and their lives.
“On this day one year ago, Blue Mountains communities were devastated by bushfires.
“I recall vividly the devastation I witnessed and the affected families and business owners I met when I visited last October.
"The leadership of the Mayor of the Blue Mountains, Mark Greenhill was inspirational and the experience of the disaster coordinator, Phil Koperberg was invaluable in kick-starting social and economic recovery.
"But it is the effort of so many Blue Mountains residents that makes them the unsung heroes of the recovery effort.
"Their courage epitomises the community spirit in the Blue Mountains.
"There are many challenges the Blue Mountains community faces twelve months on from the bushfires.
"I have no doubt that many of these challenges would have been minimised with more effective coordination between the State and Federal Government,” Bill Shorten said.
Senator Cameron said the professionalism of federal and state public servants involved in responding to the bushfires was both comforting and welcome.
Notwithstanding this, the lack of cohesion and decision-making at the Federal and State Government level was a constant impediment to efficient recovery processes.
“The lessons from the Victorian and Tasmanian bushfires recovery had obviously not been learned and many of the basic principles had to be reinvented during the Blue Mountains recovery operation.
“One of the most important lessons from the Victorian and Tasmanian bushfires was that local politicians should always put their communities before party politics. Unfortunately this did not happen in the Blue Mountains.
“It is incumbent on all levels of government to work cooperatively and in coordination with each other to put those affected by natural disasters first and to help communities recover and get back to their feet,” Senator Cameron said.
FRIDAY, 17 OCTOBER 2014
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