August 24, 2020
House of Representatives
I rise today to applaud the communities in the Upper Murray as they rebuild from the summer’s destructive bushfires. A rebuild dealt the additional challenge of COVID-19.
In Corryong, the Upper Murray Community Recovery Committee and the smaller committees in Walwa, Cudgewa, Biggara, Towong, Tintaldra, Berringama, Lucyvale, Nariel Valley and Thowgla Valley are working to address the impact of the bushfire.
In Walwa a few weeks ago, I visited the tiny primary school to discuss the progress of its eight students with the principal Mr Steven Lynch.
A couple of hours later, I met him again at the Walwa Recovery Committee meeting, where he represented both the school and the tennis club.
At the Bush Nursing Centre, I spoke with chief executive officer and nurse practitioner Sandi Grieve. She, too, was later at the committee meeting.
As was the local policeman, Simon McKenzie, as was the CFA captain David Hanna, also the president of the hall committee.
Around the table were a dozen others, each serving their communities in multiple capacities – Rotary, the football club, the cemetery trust, goodness knows what else.
In that room I witnessed a community that had swapped the N95 smoke masks of summer for hand-made cloth masks of a COVID winter.
Multiple masks, and multiple hats.
I witnessed the initiative, intelligence, and heart of people gathering to rebuild better and safeguard their communities into the future.