31 January: The Governor of Queensland, His Excellency the Honourable Paul de Jersey AC and Mrs Kaye de Jersey visited the region today to hear from locals impacted by bushfires.
The Governor of Queensland, His Excellency the Honourable Paul de Jersey AC and Mrs Kaye de Jersey listened to first-hand accounts of the Scenic Rim bushfires on a visit to the region today.
Scenic Rim Mayor Greg Christensen said it's been a particularly tough time in the region, and having the Governor personally acknowledge the impacts the fires have had on communities was a morale boost for volunteers and local residents .
"On behalf of our Scenic Rim communities, I greatly appreciate the interest and compassion shown by the Governor and his wife during today's visit.
"The Governor heard from local rural fire brigade members, families impacted by the fires, and businesses who have lost significant trade as a result of the fires.
"Everyone has their own story to tell, and I am grateful the Governor chose to visit the Scenic Rim and allow some of our people to share their stories."
Cr Christensen said the Governor began his visit with a briefing from Rural Fire Service, Regional Manager South East, Superintendent Alan Gillespie and Group Officer, Boonah Mr Trevor Turner.
"It was important to set the scene with an overview of the fires from right across the region, including the Sarabah/Beechmont fires that burned in the east in September as well as the more recent fires at Mount Barney, Tarome and Clumber," said Cr Christensen.
"The Governor acknowledged the extraordinary work of the local rural fire service, with many of them volunteering their time while trying to manage their own farms and work priorities."
The Governor also visited Aratula State School to recognise the impact disasters can have on small communities where the Principal Damien Butler said he would meet with the teachers every morning to discuss the impact of the smoke concerning the welfare of the staff and students.
"Some days we spent the full day in classrooms due to the thickness of the smoke and the danger of embers landing in the school grounds," said Mr Butler.
"At Aratula State School we have three teaching staff and 47 enrolled students. Two of these teachers and 16 students were affected by the fire events, which is pretty significant.
"At least 10 students were evacuated from their homes for a period of time and two fathers of students were working with the Rural Fire Service to build firebreaks and clear trees," he said.
The Governor's visit concluded with a community morning tea at the Aratula Sports Centre.