Commemorations (2009 Victorian Bushfires)

GRIMLEY (Western Victoria) (17:25:37): I echo the statements and sentiments already expressed by members in this chamber today in relation to Black Saturday. I would like to further acknowledge the tremendous investigative work conducted by our police and fire services. Having had personal experience in such investigations—on a much smaller scale, mind you—I am in total awe of the teamwork of members from across the emergency services in Victoria and also other states and overseas as well. Everyone came to help without hesitation, and it was remarkable. Moving forward from that dreadful day, studies on the effects of the Black Saturday bushfires indicate that over a quarter of those impacted still suffer from serious mental health issues to this day.

We are all too familiar with the studies and details of what occurred on Black Saturday, but what is becoming more familiar is the struggle experienced by survivors and emergency personnel from that horrible day. These struggles continue to this day, and I would like to acknowledge all the survivors and organisations that continue to support all those still experiencing the trauma to this day, in particular organisations such as Fighting PTSD VicPol and the retired peer support officer program. After this week our yellow ribbons will leave our clothes until next year, but we will never forget. For those affected by the fires, their yellow ribbons will continue to remain with them, unseen. To all the volunteers and professional organisations assisting those in need, I thank you for your contribution and ongoing support to those who need it most.