As Gippsland faces yet another ordeal, I am reminded again just how lucky I am to be the local MP for such an amazing community.
I have been overwhelmed by the passion and generosity of the people of Gippsland who continue to support one another as we face storm damage, floods and ongoing power outages – all while navigating restrictions from the coronavirus pandemic.
Over the past week I have travelled the electorate and seen the devastation first-hand, but Gippslanders have put their shoulders to the wheel and supported one another.
Whether it has been farmers clearing roads, community organisations coordinating accommodation or showers, local business people offering hot meals and other services or just everyday citizens spontaneously offering help where they see a need, Gippslanders have responded incredibly.
While this doesn’t surprise me because I know the people of Gippsland South have generous hearts, it is important that everyone’s contribution is recognised.
Of course, at the peak of those doing the heavy lifting are our wonderful State Emergency Services (SES) volunteers alongside our professional emergency services staff and many hard-working council staff and public servants who are helping to coordinate the response.
Unfortunately, there will no doubt be more support needed over coming months. If you are in a position to assist financially, the Gippsland Emergency Relief Fund (gerf.org.au) has launched an appeal to provide financial assistance to those impacted by the flood. Donations can be made online or at any NAB branch.
On behalf of all those affected and to everyone who has played their part, I say very sincerely, thank you for your efforts.
Danny O’Brien MP, The Nationals Member for Gippsland South, Shadow Assistant Minister for Regional Health and Shadow Assistant Minister for Ambulance Services.