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Australia Day reflections
An Australia Day Reflection:
Happy Australia Day! Today is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate so much that is good. Whilst life is full of everyday challenges and disappointments we often take for granted what a great country we live in. We enjoy a standard of living and a culture that so many others across the globe can only dream of. Those distinctive aussie characteristics of mateship, determination in adversity, helping your neighbour, and always looking for the positives – even when the chips are down, define our people and our country. Of course there is one other defining characteristic of Australia, and that is the volunteering ethos. We are one of a handful of countries where many important functions are carried out by volunteers. Be it meals on wheels, firefighting, surf lifesaving, caring for the land or caring for vulnerable people, volunteering is a strong and essential part of the fabric of the Australian way of life. CFA epitomises what it is to be Australian.
CFA is comprised of over 60,000 men and women, Australians who are drawn from many and diverse cultures for a common purpose – to protect life and property and to care for their mates. As today we should celebrate and be proud to be an Australian, we should also be proud to be a member of the CFA. This is a great organisation, made up of great Australians, serving other Australians. Take time to reflect on what it means to be an Australian, what it means to be a member of the CFA and to be part of the CFA “family”. Be proud of what we do and the values we represent. The future is bright.
Congratulations To Some Special CFA Members – AFSM Recipients:
Today we recognise many special Australians who have been recognised in the Australia Day Honours list. Join me in extending hearty congratulations to Firefighter Adrian HemGroup Officer Robert Ipsen (Goldfields Group Officer); Executive Manager Fleet Services Robert Rankin; and Executive Manager Operational Training and Volunteer Support Lex DeMan. Each of these members has been awarded the Australian Fire Services Medal to recognise their particular contribution to CFA, to our industry, to our community. We also recognise medal recipients from our partners in DSE, MFB, VicPol and SES. Congratulations to you all! (Diamond Creek);
The Flood Response And Clean Up Continues:
As many Australians relax on a day off, we pause to remember that many CFA, SES DSE, VicPol, ADF and DHS personnel are hard at work responding to the flowing water in the catchments of the Avoca and Loddon Rivers. Further upstream and in the Wimmera catchment CFA crews continue to assist with the clean up. I have had glowing reports of the work that CFA is doing – not just in affected towns, but also on more isolated farm dwellings and on farms. It is likely that, as the flood moves on, the CFA clean up role will also move downstream. The focus for us will move to Kerang, Swan Hill, Mystic Lake, and Lake Boga. It is likely that the number of taskings may reduce and with it, the number of resources. There are plans to re-locate the St Arnaud Base Camp closer to Swan Hill. To all who are involved in this operation, on the ground, in the air, at the base camp, staging area or the “clean up cell” “THANK YOU! Keep up the terrific effort!”
Many CFA Members Have Been Severely Affected:
We need to be aware that many staff and volunteers have been and are likely to be severely affected by the flooding. Many have lost everything. A number of CFA Brigades (such as at Carisbrook, Charlton and Rochester) have also suffered significant damage to their stations and to their members possessions. These people need more than our thoughts and support. Their recovery will be slow. They will need our comradeship and our monetary and physical assistance. I urge you to continue to give generously. Recently I met Firefighter Norm Bowen from Spring Gully at Bendigo. Norm was leading a team of Critical Incident stress (CIS) Peers who were conducting CIS defusion sessions at flood affected fire stations. CIS peers do great work in CFA. They will be busy in the coming weeks. They do essential work caring for the CFA family.
Quote of the week:
"I love a sunburnt country, A land of sweeping plains, Of ragged mountain ranges, Of drought and flooding rains, I love her far horizons, I love her jewel-sea, Her beauty and her terror - The wide brown land for me!"