Shadow Minister for Emergency Services and Member for the Agricultural Region Hon Martin Aldridge MLC yesterday expressed his gratitude for all those who selflessly supported regional communities during recent disastrous events.

“In the first four months of 2021, regional communities faced devastating weather events – Tropical Cyclone Seroja, the Wooroloo bushfires and a number of other significant fires in my electorate and neighbouring regions,” he said.

“After my visit to Northampton, Binnu and Port Gregory last month where the assistance provided by volunteers, first responders, community groups and agencies was admirable, it was important to show appreciation for all personnel who have helped affected regional communities during a crisis.”

Mr Aldridge said he and several other Members of Parliament in the Legislative Council stood to show support for a motion moved by the Leader of the Opposition Hon Dr Steve Thomas MLC yesterday to acknowledge the impacts of cyclone Seroja, the Wooroloo bushfires and to give thanks to all those involved in responding to and recovering from these emergencies.

“I thank all those involved in the response and recovery effort. Your extraordinary work has given those affected by these natural disasters a chance to recover and rebuild,” he said.

“The road to recovery is a long one and these communities will need our ongoing support both from government and from the community.”

With more than 1,000 homes and businesses still without power almost a month since the cyclone hit, Mr Aldridge called on the State Government to use these tragic events to consider the level of resiliency in our critical networks in times of disaster.

“It is incumbent on the State Government to look at the significant loss of power and disruption to telecommunications within impacted regional communities as an opportunity to build better, more resilient networks, networks that are more reliable in times of emergency not just for the affected community but for first responders.”

Hon Dr Steve Thomas MLC said it was meaningful to see the Upper House showing solidarity and complete support for the motion.

“As we have seen, rural communities are extraordinarily resilient, but the damage caused by cyclone Seroja and the Wooroloo bushfires were devastating. Emergency services personnel are essential to these communities during and after disastrous events,” Mr Thomas said.

“We’ve urged the Federal and State Governments to work together to make all reasonable efforts to assist these communities to rebuild.”