LISMORE MP Janelle Saffin has given heartfelt thanks to firefighters battling to contain the Long Gully Road bushfire between Drake and Tabulam, and to crews who risked their lives to save Tenterfield during the Mount Mackenzie Road fire last Friday.
Ms Saffin, who was in Tenterfield and Drake at the weekend, today (Wednesday September 11) returned to the firefronts with NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian, Deputy Premier John Barilaro, Emergency Services Minister David Elliott and Agriculture Minister and Northern Tablelands MP Adam Marshall.
Ms Saffin said the high-level visit showed the NSW Government’s concern for her constituents affected by the onslaught of an early bushfire season, and it was kept real with a sausage sandwich the order of the day at Drake.
She echoed Tenterfield Shire mayor Cr Peter Petty’s public tribute to Rural Fire Service volunteer Neville Smith, who was critically injured while protecting a neighbouring property to one owned by Tenterfield councillor Bronwyn Petrie.
“Our thoughts and prayers are for Neville and his family as he receives treatment in intensive care in Royal Brisbane Hospital,” Ms Saffin said.
“I cannot speak highly enough of our fireys — on the ground and in the air — who are putting it all on the line to keep others safe from harm and to protect properties, livestock and pets.
“Our police officers have been amazing and I thank our local media too for being there and staying on air to broadcast vital information.
“It certainly has been touch and go for many residents, and it has been heart-wrenching to meet and offer support to families and individuals who have lost their homes, sheds, farm machinery and animals.
“I was on the phone to ministers as was Federal Member for New England Barnaby Joyce to ensure that a natural disaster declaration was made as early as possible for Tenterfield Shire.
“I commend the Office of Emergency Management on its recovery effort under Wendy Graham and Jeremy Hillman, who was here for the Tabulam fires in February.
“The RFS is controlling fires at Flagstone Road, Legume, and Duke Creek Road, Old Bonalbo, and with so many fires burning across the Northern Rivers and Northern Tablelands, and in Queensland, we must remain vigilant.”
Ms Saffin encouraged all residents affected by the bushfires in Tenterfield Shire to check her website www.janellesaffin.com.au on available State Government assistance or to contact her office on 0266 213 624 for help.