To the people of Tenterfield Shire - you are amazing!
So resilient, so strong and so caring! I am deeply humbled but incredibly proud to be mayor of such a wonderful community.
The past few days have tested us yet again and we have not been found wanting. Despite the fear, the terror, and the devastation that this new round of fires has brought, people are showing their determination and resilience to keep our communities going and to help their fellow man.
Our fire crews have performed impossible tasks against unbelievable odds and although there have unfortunately been losses of homes, property and livestock, you have all done an incredible job and for this, on behalf of the council, I wish to thank each and every one of you.
My thanks also to the fire crews from far away who have answered the call and come back to help the people of Tenterfield and Drake. The Rural Fire Service have done an outstanding job considering the number of fire emergencies which are taking place right now across NSW.
For those of you in need, flyers giving information from the Office of Emergency Management are available at the council offices or on council's website (click here).
Fodder is available for livestock from the Tenterfield Showground with Local Land Services assisting with supply of emergency fodder, stock water and assessment of animals impacted by fire. The following contact numbers may assist you to commence recovery:
- Disaster Welfare Services 1800 018 444 (8.30 am to 4.30 pm)
- Animal & Agriculture Hotline 1800 814 647
- Mental Health Line 1800 051 511
The Evacuation Centre remains open (8am to 8pm) at the Tenterfield Showground (underneath the Grandstand) and I encourage anyone who is in need of support or needs a place to go to speak to the Disaster Welfare people on hand.
A Chaplain is also available as well as Yolanda and Joel from the Salvation Army. My sincere thanks to Yolanda and Joel and the many volunteers who are providing food and support to the weary firefighters. Thank God for the Salvos!
Despite all this the Peter Allen Festival went ahead and was a great success for our community and local businesses.
Despite the lack of power on Friday evening, Matt and Josh did a great job in getting things rolling and again on behalf of council, I offer my sincere congratulations to them and their committee for their determination to continue with this great event and my thanks to the many visitors who stayed to ensure the event's success and bring some joy to our shocked community.
I thank our loyal council staff who again rallied to ensure that the best possible outcomes can be achieved for our community both on the fire fronts, at the Evacuation Centre and at the Festival during the weekend. Our thoughts also go to Neville Smith and his family in Brisbane. That a volunteer firefighter should be injured while performing his duty is indeed tragic. We wish you well Neville and hope you will be back in our community soon.
In closing, I wish to thank our chief executive Terry Dodds for his dogmatic approach and determination to get a successful outcome to alleviate our water woes. I have been working closely with Terry on this during our many meetings with DoI Water, the Minister, and more lately the Deputy Premier.
I have been immensely proud to have someone of this calibre at the forefront of our council.