News

Mayor hails community spirit

By Vanessa Wiltshire

SEVERAL small community events will be held next week to mark the 10-year anniversary of the 2009 Victorian Bushfires and corresponding heatwave — one of the most significant natural disasters Victoria has experienced.

There were 173 people who lost their lives, and many more who were injured or had their homes destroyed. The fires were particularly devastating in our community. Our community has shown remarkable resilience to rally together, recover and rebuild.

Mitchell Shire Council Mayor Bill Chisholm said the commemorative events were an important opportunity for people to reflect.

“I think it is really important to remember the events of the 2009 Victorian bushfires. There is always resilience in communities and at Mitchell Shire Council we try to support our community and work with them regularly. We are very lucky here in Mitchell Shire to have the community spirit we do have.

“There are support services for all in our shire to support the health and wellbeing of all people. Let’s all reach out to loved ones and friends and encourage them to seek support should they need it.”

There are a small number of community events being held to commemorate the anniversary and to encourage communities to come together. There are also a number of initiatives to support health and wellbeing and to encourage people to seek support if they need it.

The Honourable Linda Dessau AC, Governor of Victoria, is Patron of the 10 Year Anniversary of the 2009 Victorian Bushfires and is visiting bushfire-affected communities to hear about their challenges and help celebrate their achievements in recovery.

The Governor and Mr Anthony Howard AM QC will be in attendance at the Wandong Heathcote Junction Community Group’s commemorative event at Wandong and Heathcote Junction Memorial Park on Saturday, February 9 from 10am, and then again at the Clonbinane commemorative dinner from 6.15pm.

■The Bushfires of 2009 Community Support Project provides information about a range of support services and care pathways that exist in regions impacted by the bushfires. If you need help now, call Lifeline on 13 11 14 (24 hours/7 days). There are several ways to access support, including calling the Australian Primary Mental Health Alliance on 1300 514 811 (Mon-Fri 9-5), visiting your local doctor or health service, or online at www.headtohealth.gov.au