One year on from the start of the Currowan bushfire, it is so important for us to look back, not only at the hard times and the sad times, but also at the positive things that we have seen and the strength our community has shown.
In the immediate aftermath of the bushfires, I spent every day in our community, hearing the harrowing stories of local people, local farmers, local business owners - raw and emotional, just looking for someone to listen. Someone to help.
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I also saw community stepping into the space where government should have been - the Batemans Bay Surf Club, the Lake Conjola Community Centre and The Hive Kangaroo Valley, among others, turning into donations hubs. Every day locals doing what they could.
I spent almost every day of the bushfires at fire control, witnessing first hand the awe-inspiring work of our first responders, government agencies, local councils, utility companies, media outlets - so many people working tirelessly every single day to help and protect our community. It was humbling, and it made me so proud.
That is what I have continued to feel every day since - proud. We still have a long way to go, but our community is stronger than ever. The truth is, we have each and every member of our community to thank for getting us through this year, with all the challenges it has brought.
I have never been prouder to call the South Coast home.