Welcome to this week’s editorial, The Federal, State and Local politicians say “We’re all in this together” …. But are we? This weekend is Get Ready Weekend where we all sit around and discuss our Bushfire Plans and go through the check lists of House and Garden Preparation as well as preparing our Evacuation Kits. Before last summer’s fires the message behind these annual reminders weren’t taken so seriously. People didn’t prepare because it sound too much like something that happened to ‘other people’. But then it happened to us. We have now gone through months of inquiries into the bushfires and the Blind Freddy revelation is that we were not prepared for the extent of the fires nor the catastrophe. As we now move towards the next bushfire season most of us are of the opinion that the resources we so sadly lacked last year by way of planes, trucks and crews have not been improved. The RFS and Government tell us that they have spent money on providing volunteers with new uniforms, more PPE and have even upgraded communications however at the fire front we can expect to little change as there are few new appliances and the new volunteers we now have are replacing the many who retired after last year’s Hell on Earth. The bare bones of it is that we will be left to cope, as we did last year, with whatever is thrown at us as there are no guarantees of a fire crew being able to attend your burning house. Added to that there are no guarantees of roads being open, electricity being available, mobile phone, the internet, town water and then food, petrol and supplies in the days and weeks that follow. Our evacuation centres have seen zero improvements to the totally inadequate facilities Council provides that fail the basic requirements for such centres.
Should there be a repeat we will certainly stand as one as we did last time and say “We’re all in this together” because we will be unable to rely on anyone and anything other than ourselves. So this Get Ready Weekend be sure to factor in the realities of what happened last year and assess what you REALLY will do for food, water and provisions, whether you will Stay and Defend or Go and if you chose to go how you will prepare your car, your home and your family to flee while reducing, as best you can, the possible traumas that will rise from the loss of your home, the paperwork, the rebuilding, the insurances, the financing and the transition required to return to Square One. Hopefully whilst we are all Getting Ready this weekend the Council, the State and the Federal Government are also getting ready to step up and have in place the 76 recommendations that have been identified that need THEIR immediate attention. Only THEN will we “all be in this together”. Until next—Lei