Lauren Kathage MP (09:40)
15 years ago today, 78 communities were changed forever.
Nearly 2000 homes were lost. And tragically, so were 173 lives.
It's a difficult day for many Victorians, including in my electorate, where the northernmost townships still bear scars to this day.
The scars left by an event like that endure, and that pain is shared by the whole community.
To the families and communities dearly missing someone today, I want to offer my sincere condolences.
The common thread of these tragedies is the strength of our communities, when banded together to face a momentous challenge.
That unbelievable resilience was evident in the volunteers who dropped everything to help rebuild.
It was evident in the healthcare workers tirelessly treating the injured.
In local police and SES, striving to maintain safety and security.
In the career fire teams who hoped they’d never see a day like that.
And of course, in the countless volunteer fire brigades across the state - whose courage and commitment was (and still is) outstanding.
To all of those who stood up to help in 2009, we thank you.
Thank you also to today’s first responders.
May you never have to face a challenge quite like that.