Sampson Flat Bushfires and the CFS Restructure
Friday, 20 February 2015
Deep concerns swept over the Adelaide Hills on January 2nd in catastrophic conditions. The community’s worst fears were realised when a bushfire raged out of control, with 27 homes lost and significant property damage. Relief from those conditions came when it rained 6 days later. Sadly, livestock and native animals were also impacted.
The community is extremely grateful for our magnificent CFS volunteers and all our State Emergency Management team, including SAPOL. They have the experience and knowledge to respond to bushfires. The fact that no lives were lost in this bushfire is testament to their courage, experience and skill and demonstrates that lessons have been learnt from past bushfires. As with all emergency events, the recovery process is extremely important. A review will be conducted into the response to the Sampson Flat Bushfire. I understand the return-to-home issue is part of that, along with the extended road closures and community shelters.
The generosity of the South Australian community has also been outstanding and should be acknowledged.
I was pleased to offer my assistance to the local CFS brigade at Paracombe. I helped on a water tanker truck to deliver water to local homes that had emptied their supplies from fighting the fire.
Local Recovery Centres have been established to support communities with the important recovery phase. I encourage anyone affected by the bushfire to contact your Local Recovery Centre. Alternatively, call Co-ordinator Karlene Maywald on 1800 302 787 or 8415 4272.
Given the tremendous role of our CFS during the Sampson Flat Bushfire and in any emergency, I find it completely wrong that the Minister for Emergency Services announced a merger of the emergency services. A move the State Labor Government must have known would cause outrage amongst CFS and SES volunteers. Only the most arrogant of Governments would take such a step and proceed with it.
The CFS Volunteers Association (CFSVA) Media Release of 24/01/15 sums up their view as follows:
“The CFSVA views the Weatherill Government’s actions as an assault on the CFS and its 13,500 professional fire and rescue volunteers who regularly risk their lives to keep our State safe.
“The CFSVA does not accept the Minister’s actions and flawed process and will vehemently oppose any attempts by the Weatherill Government to bring about this unsupported sector reform”.