Page 919 - Week 03 - Tuesday, 24 February 2009
From my own experience, my children had the opportunity to busk at Curtin shops on the weekend as a fundraiser for the Victorian bushfire appeal. We have seen around Canberra the willingness of so many to just have a go, to do small things in their community, to give of their time, to give a little bit of their money, to encourage other people to give a little bit of their money, to help in the recovery, which will be a very long one.
I take the opportunity to pay tribute now to David Balfour. A number of us attended the funeral today. He has made the ultimate sacrifice while helping others. We can question why it had to be this way, why this tragedy had to occur. So many have lost their lives, and one of our own has lost his life, fighting to save others, to save property, to save people. Those who were there at the funeral saw the great tributes that were paid to David by family and friends. I think we were all touched by the stoicism of his family. It is particularly moving and particularly tragic when someone dies leaving a young family, children, behind. We saw all of their grief, and the sacrifice hit home to us. But we also saw great courage in the face of that from David’s wife, Celia, and from, in particular, his sister-in-law, who spoke so eloquently at the funeral. She spoke of the family’s grief but she also spoke of the wonderful relationship that she enjoyed with David and the wonderful impact he had on those around him. That was particularly touching for those of us who were there.
I take the opportunity, on behalf of the opposition in this place, to pay tribute to the Balfour family—to David Balfour for the sacrifice he made; to Celia; to his children, Alison, Frances and Daniel; and to all of his family, friends and colleagues and those who have lost someone very special to them. We grieve with them in their loss; but it was done in the service of others and we should remember that. We should remember that this was a sacrifice made on behalf of the people of the ACT for the people of Victoria.
I would encourage all Canberrans to continue to get behind the various fundraising efforts that are continuing. This will be a long rebuilding process. The ACT has contributed significantly and we hope that we can continue to contribute in numerous ways. I am sure the generosity of Canberrans will continue. We will recall the generosity that was given to us and we will look to repay that in whatever way we can. We pay tribute to all of the volunteers, the emergency services personnel, the police and all Canberrans who have assisted in the recovery and the fundraising efforts.
MR CORBELL (Molonglo—Attorney-General, Minister for the Environment, Climate Change and Water, Minister for Energy and Minister for Police and Emergency Services) (5.49), in reply: I thank members for their support of this motion and for joining in expressing our support, our congratulations and gratitude for the efforts of all those who have made a contribution to assisting the Victorian community to recover from and deal with the consequences of the fires there just over a week ago.
In listening to members’ comments I think I am struck most by the fact that we are a small city but we make such a mighty contribution, and that is something of which we should all be proud. Whether it is by fundraisers, volunteers, firefighters, police,