Happy New Year!
So far, 2020 has delivered many challenges. But, as always, Australians have risen to meet them. I have been inspired by people's generousity - in donating money, goods, their time and support to those who need it.
I especially want to thank our heroic fire fighters, including local crews who not only protected Hinterland properties last year, but are continuing to help their mates in other states. I recently met members of the NSW Rural Fire Service in Braidwood to hear more of their experiences regarding the region's devastating fires.
The Government is committed to assisting families, farmers, businesses and communities to recover and rebuild. We are doing this through the $2b National Bushfire Recovery Fund, which has already allocated funds towards protecting wildlife, providing mental health services, support for fire-affected businesses and a tourism recovery package.
As part of my role as Minister for Industry, Science and Technology, I convened a Bushfire Science Roundtable - bringing together many of Australia’s leading experts to find new ways to improve bushfire response, for our current fire season and into the future.
I also visited Peregian Digital Hub and its FireTech Incubator to see their incredible work following last year's bushfires on the Sunshine Coast.
The Holiday Here This Year campaign is a terrific initiative and I encourage you all to take a trip to a fire-affected region that is now open for business. Even a day-trip to our stunning Hinterland would be a shot in the arm for local businesses impacted by last year's fires.
I know many of you are concerned about the outbreak of Novel Coronavirus in China. Right now, all nine patients in Australia are stabled and well cared for, with the Health Minister confirming two patients have been declared post-viral. We have Australian scientists working around the clock on a vaccine, but the best form of prevention is to practice good hygiene. Visit the Department of Health website for details on symptoms and preventative measures.
Finally, I would like to welcome Australia's newest citizens. I proudly presided over the Citizenship Ceremony in Mudgeeraba on Australia Day, where 54 Gold Coasters took the Pledge and officially became Aussies.
Karen Andrews MP
Federal Member for McPherson
* PS - And remember, you can keep up to date on local and ministerial announcement by following me on Facebook www.facebook.com/pages/Karen-Andrews-MP