Speech-Moncrieff Bushfire Condolences
20 Mar | '2020
Angie Bell MP: This summer our nation has been gripped by bushfires, and we have seen devastation and heartbreak. We’ve heard many heart-wrenching stories from members from both sides of the chamber. On behalf of the good people of the electorate of Moncrieff on the central Gold Coast, I wish to pass on our condolences, our prayers and our best wishes to those who have lost their homes, their businesses or, sadly, their loved ones and to convey the heaviness of our hearts to our fellow Queenslanders and, indeed, all Australians who have been directly impacted by these terrible fires.
I wish to pass on our endless thanks and gratitude to the Australian Defence Force, volunteers and emergency personnel who’ve risked their own lives to assist those who found themselves in their darkest hours; and to those firefighters who gave up their holiday seasons from Canada, the US and New Zealand to come and assist us to battle these unprecedented blazes.
We are reminded by members that this disaster is not over yet. The fires have not stopped and the drought continues. I want to let drought-stricken communities know that we on the Gold Coast are thinking of you. We’re backing you too.
The coalition government continues to dig in, stepping up all efforts to assist those enduring drought and those in fire-ravaged communities. Throughout this devastation we’ve also seen the best of the Aussie spirit. The Australian people are truly amazing. There have been many community groups, businesses, schools and individuals in Moncrieff who have embodied the Australian spirit with their relief efforts and generous donations. I would like to highlight some of them, but I’m sure there are many others who have contributed to relief efforts through the good work of charities and direct donations.
In Mermaid Beach, Temple of Spices Indian restaurant donated an evening’s profits. Alfred’s coffee shop donated a dollar per cup of coffee for a day. Moo Moo steak restaurant in Broadbeach held a fundraiser. The Australian spirit shone through over the Australia Day weekend with many businesses and clubs raising money to help you. A fire-relief fundraiser concert was held at Miami Marketta. Snags for Bushfire Relief at Steampunk was held in Surfers Paradise with gold coin donations going to St Vincent de Paul fire relief. North Burleigh surf club donated proceeds from their VB schooners. The YOT Club—a superyacht which travels Moncrieff’s waterways—held a fire-relief cruise with proceeds going to New South Wales Rural Fire Service.
Sporting clubs are an integral part of our community. Southport Sharks donated $1 from every beverage sold over the Australia Day long weekend to the Gold Coast Rural Fire Brigade. They also hosted a bushfire boot camp appeal to support our southern cousins on Kangaroo Island in South Australia. The Gold Coast Suns contributed $50,000 as part of the overall AFL community’s donation. The Gold Coast Titans donated their jerseys, held clinics and signing sessions, and visited New South Wales Rural Fire Service headquarters to put smiles on the faces of our exhausted firefighting heroes. The annual Magic Millions horseracing carnival events calendar contributed over $1 million throughout the weeklong event to support those in need.
Children are the future of our nation, and fundraising efforts at local schools have shown us that Australian generosity continues through the next generation. Last week I attended the Australian International Islamic College in Carrara with the assistant minister for multicultural affairs, Jason Wood. The beautiful kids at this beautiful school raised $1,000 for the relief effort. They crocheted mittens for the marsupials who’ve been injured in the blazes. The Australian Indian club, based in Surfers Paradise, collected pallets of goods, such as baby food, nappies and snacks, to donate to the Red Cross. Here are just two examples of our multicultural community in Moncrieff helping their fellow Aussies in need.
Trinity Lutheran College in Ashmore donated $1,000. Guardian Angels primary school has done a tremendous job. I was very proud when, back in September, during the first fires in the neighbouring electorate of Wright, the children were recognised by the Prime Minister for the very kind letter they composed to our firefighting heroes. The letter read, ‘To all the firefighters, thank you for giving up your time and your family time to help other families. You are true heroes. Enjoy these treats.’ The school also arranged a drop-off point for water to be delivered to drought-stricken Stanthorpe.
Emmanuel College students held a bake sale and a sausage sizzle to raise money for those communities who are doing it tough. William Duncan State School in Nerang teamed up with Backpacks for Bushfires to put together backpacks with supplies and deliver them to school children directly affected by the bushfires. A BlazeAid fundraiser will be held this weekend out in the Country Paradise Parklands, also in Nerang. Many community groups will come together to support this event, with proceeds going to those fighting fires locally and nationally. I would also like to acknowledge every single individual in my electorate who’s given what they could to help. I thank you. Whether it’s been $1, $10 or $100, these small amounts all add up to make a huge difference in the lives of those affected.
To finish, I’d like to say that I’m proud of the Australians who have endured so much this summer, and I’m proud of our Prime Minister and those ministers who have worked together so well to deliver for those Australians. It is precisely because of the responsible economic management and the recent return to surplus that our government has been able to act decisively and effectively to assist so many Australians who are either on the road to recovery or still fighting on in the face of adversity.