Bushfires burning across NSW timely reminder to be responsible

Like most people, I have been horrified by what I have seen on television screens for the last several weeks. Watching parts of NSW and Australia burning through large and destructive bushfires is terrible.

This horror reached new heights last week when temperatures and winds soared, making conditions for a lot of fires horrendous, and two firefighters lost their lives while protecting people and property south-west of Sydney. That is tragic news.

This is always a terrible time of year in Australia for bushfires and unfortunately the ongoing drought has made conditions even worse, and the lack of water in some areas has only added to the challenge.

Everyone looks forward to the Christmas holidays as a fantastic opportunity to come together and celebrate but unfortunately in some communities this isn’t possible because brave men and women have volunteered to be part of the great organisation known as the Rural Fire Service. They sacrifice time with their loved ones but they do an amazing job and we all owe them so much for their commitment.

Thankfully the Dubbo Region has avoided any serious fires yet and I certainly hope that continues. But I would urge people to use extreme caution, especially on the days with high temperatures or strong winds.

If we all do our bit to avoid starting any avoidable fires, hopefully our local firefighters will have a chance to spend more time with their families during this holiday period.

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It is also impossible to farewell 2019 without looking once more at the impact the drought has had on our region, our state and our entire country.

I have said on a number of occasions that as a whole Dubbo has endured the drought very well and that is certainly the case but there is no denying it has taken a terrible toll on some sections of the community.

Our farmers have been struggling for so long now, and unfortunately there is no sign of that letting up. I think everyone had rain high on their Christmas list and failing that we hope it is just around the corner.

But it is more than just farmers who are battling. Once their incomes dried up, they stopped spending and that has a detrimental impact on the entire economies of regional towns and cities. Agricultural businesses were hit hard, along with machinery and automotive retailers.

Diminishing water has added to the problem, with turf farms and nurseries now struggling to appeal to customers who are adapting to water restrictions.

Council will continue to do what it can, and I urge other levels of government to also lend support now and into the future until we are able to come through this drought.

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This is my final column of 2019. I hope everyone has a fantastic and safe New Year’s Eve and I wish everyone a happy and prosperous 2020. See you next year.

Last Edited: 18 Feb 2020

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