The hard-working volunteers of East Gippsland’s Community Recovery Committees (CRCs) were recognised at a get-together in Orbost on Friday, November 10, celebrating the vital role they and their predecessors have played and continue to play in the region's recovery following the bushfires of 2019-20.
East Gippsland Shire Council Mayor Cr Tom Crook spoke at the ceremony at Orbost Golf Club before joining Council CEO Anthony Basford to present awards to representatives from CRCs comprising Bruthen, Buchan and Districts, Cann Valley District, Clifton Creek, Errinundra to Snowy, Mallacoota and District, Orbost District, Omeo Region, Sarsfield and Wairewa community.
In the summer of 2019-20, East Gippsland fire destroyed over 1.1 million hectares, caused loss or damage to an estimated410 residential properties and 27 commercial properties, and burnt 5,300 sq km of state forest and 483 sq km of nature reserve. There was a quick recognition that collective action would be needed to rebuild and East Gippsland officially began its recovery phase on April 2, 2020.
“The Community Recovery Committees played a vital role in the process of recovery after the devastating bushfires four years ago, ensuring that local voices, know-how and expertise have been central to recovery planning and delivery,” Cr Crook said.
“It was an honour to recognise the efforts and achievements of these committee members; volunteers who have contributed thousands of hours over a nearly four-year period since 2020. The have worked tirelessly to support their communities through their recovery journey.
“For those impacted and within different communities, the experiences differ. Some communities have largely fulfilled their identified priorities, while others, despite considerable achievements, still face ongoing tasks. Regardless, it's vital to appreciate the dedication of volunteers and community leaders who have stepped up during challenging times,” Cr Crook said.
Artist Melanie Murphy turned committee members’ ideas into art, creating a digital graphic recording that captured the key thoughts of the day as illustrations and showed connections and relationships between the ideas each team had brought to the gathering.