NSW Premier, Gladys Berejiklian, and NSW Rural Fire Service Commissioner, Shane Fitzsimmons, visited Coonabarabran on Friday, 17 February, meeting with support staff from the Warrumbungle Fire Control Centre before travelling south to the Sir Ivan fireground to speak with affected landholders.
Meeting briefly with volunteers from Castlereagh Support Brigade, Premier Berejiklian said she wished she had been visiting under different circumstances.
“But I am very pleased to be here to see what community leadership is all about,” Premier Berejiklian said.
“It just warms my heart to know that when things are bad, communities come together and support each other.
“I can’t thank everyone enough and that’s why I’m here - to show that on behalf of the people of NSW, we are behind your efforts and are so relieved that no lives were lost.”
While the bushfire had subsided, Premier Berejiklian said fire- affected landholders were still in her thoughts.
“We need to make sure people have all the support they need, physically and emotionally, to be able to deal with what they are suffering and what they are losing,” she said.
“And that’s very top of mind for us and as a Government, we have made sure that agencies and all essential services are where they need to be.”
Premier Berejiklian paid tribute to the resilience of the people in Warrumbungle Shire, facing two significant bushfires in four years.
“Some of you have seen this before and I say thank you for coming together to support those most in need.
“You can’t pick when nature is going to strike, but we can certainly do everything we can to make it better and I am just so impressed by the work the RFS and other agencies have done on the ground to prevent further loss of property and obviously no loss of life.
“During these times you always need to look at the positives, but I do know so many people are hurting now and that will come to fruition in coming weeks.
“Going through the air today you just see the vast devastation and see the properties lost, but you also see little pockets of miracles where some properties were protected and didn’t sustain those losses.
“It’s just reassuring to know that, where appropriate, everything was done to save what was possible.”
Castlereagh Zone district manager, Superintendant Corey Philip, NSW RFS Commissioner, Shane Fitzsimmons, and NSW Premier, Gladys Berejikilan, at the Sir Ivan bushfire briefing in Coonabarabran on Friday, 17 February.