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PM visit to fire-affected Surf Coast

29 December 2015

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has praised Victoria’s response to the Wye River fire while visiting the Surf Coast today.  

Mr Turnbull spoke with Emergency Management Commissioner Craig Lapsley and Wye River Fire Brigade Captain Roy Moriarty who detailed the extensive planning that went into protecting the lives and properties of local community members.  

Emergency services knew the risks and put in place the appropriate arrangements, Mr Turnbull said afterwards. “Above all, there was no loss of life. This is a case study for other communities.”

Mr Turnbull was greeted by the Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews and Sarah Henderson, MP for Corangamite.

Mr Turnbull commended the leadership displayed during the fire, which has burnt approximately 3,000 hectares and destroyed 116 houses. He expressed his sympathy to all of those who lost their homes.

“Our hearts go out to you,” he said. “People understand the grief and loss, but we are so admiring of the way you were able to organise your community and plan, prepare for it.”

Support is available for those affected by the fires under National Disaster Relief and Recovery funding, which includes support for loss of business.

Mr Moriarty and 1st Lieutenant Andrew Hack also commended the aircraft that supported ground crews in the fire fight.  

Mr Hack said because of the steep and difficult terrain in the area, the water drops conducted by the aerial appliances were extremely effective in fighting the fire.

“You can see in one instance there is a house that was saved but all around it was burnt. The drops were very accurate, it was amazing.”

Mr Turnbull announced the federal government will contribute funding required to ensure aerial support continues to be provided over the summer season.