Today is the ninth anniversary of the 2009 Black Saturday bushfires that devastated so many communities across Victoria.
As we acknowledge the loss and grief of those most affected, it is timely to remember the depth of the impacts of that fateful day. The Black Saturday bushfires claimed 173 lives, injured 5,000 people, destroyed 2,029 homes, killed countless animals and burnt through more than 4,500 square kilometres of land.
We continue to work through the process of recovery, and we stand witness to the ongoing challenges for the people who lost so much. But like the landscapes so badly affected by the fires, green shoots will continue to appear and we owe it to those communities to do all we can to foster their growth.
This summer, fire has not presented a widespread threat but we owe much of that to the work and willingness to learn of our emergency responders. We can achieve so much working together and the calibre, commitment and sacrifice of our people is world class and we recognise that.
December saw tragedy in the Melbourne CBD before we acknowledged the first anniversary of the Bourke Street Tragedy in January. We also recognise the 35th anniversary of the 1983 Ash Wednesday fires and the 21st anniversary of the 1997 Dandenong / Ferny Creek fire.
Recognition of these important dates is a small but very important part of improving for the future.
Today is an important time to reflect, remember and renew.