LETTER TO THE EDITOR
AUSTRALIA is known as a generous nation with warm and caring people, but these past few weeks Australians and, in particular, my constituents in the electorate of Gippsland South have gone above and beyond in response to the east Gippsland bushfire crisis.
I have been astounded and overwhelmed by the passion and generosity of the people of Gippsland in supporting their brothers and sisters in the east.
Whether it has been community organisations coordinating donation points, local business people organising hay drives or just everyday citizens spontaneously taking donations to informal relief centres, Gippslanders have responded incredibly.
We have also seen dozens of people open their homes to provide accommodation for bushfire victims in an informal billet system that has gladdened hearts across the country.
So many have stepped up, including service clubs, businesses providing financial or in-kind support such as trucks for hay and other goods or many individuals doing their own thing to help - this has been a wonderful united response.
I have been in east Gippsland and have seen some of the devastation and I know that people there are extremely grateful for the support they have received from other parts of Gippsland and across the country.
Of course, at the peak of those doing the heavy lifting are our wonderful CFA volunteers who have come from across the state, alongside our professional emergency services staff and many hard-working public servants helping to coordinate the response.
Unfortunately this crisis is far from over, and there will be more support needed during coming months. If you want to help, the best way now is to make a cash donation to one of many charities, but most particularly the Gippsland Emergency Relief Fund.
On behalf of all those affected and to everyone who has played their part, I say very sincerely, thank you for your efforts.