The recent and ongoing bush fires are having an extraordinary impact on individuals, families and communities across Australia. Tragically, lives have been lost, homes destroyed, millions of hectares of bush burned out and a vast amount of animals lost. Our hearts go out to those affected.
Many BIA members are either directly or indirectly affected by these fires and the recent extreme weather and associated heatwaves, wild fires and hazardous levels of smoke. Unfortunately, it would appear, that there is some time to go before this situation is over.
On behalf of the BIA Board, I would like to acknowledge all those who are supporting the fire-fighting effort at this challenging time. That includes all those who are in the field but also those who are offering support behind the scenes. Our sincere thanks go out to our firefighters and emergency services personnel for their admirable bravery in combating the fires and protecting lives.
I have asked our Member Services team around the country to reach out to members in the affected areas to assess their needs and what support we can provide. Our team has visited or called members in these areas and will continue to liaise with members over the coming weeks, and we will update you in future e-News and Logbook. We invite all members to keep us informed of any issues they are aware of in their local areas where our members and industry have been impacted so we can use this to inform our response strategy.
I have asked our Policy and Advocacy team to liaise with relevant State departments to discuss issues such as impact on boating infrastructure, boating activity and tourism so that we can pro-actively plan for recovery.
The BIA team will gather such information to help inform how we can support members now and also in the recovery, and rebuilding stage. For example, we will be looking to collaborate with other organisations to support visitation to regional areas impacted by these fires as just one means of supporting those local economies and local communities. The joy and relaxation of boating will be a much-needed relief from the stresses of the previous months and we need to encourage boaters to return to the water as soon as possible for their own sakes and for the recovery of our industry.
Meanwhile, look out for friends and family, and continue to check in on those you know who may be impacted.
Australians have a long and proud history of resilience in the face of adversity, and this is such a time.
Please take care and stay safe.