One week after being sworn in as Eden-Monaro’s first female MP and in her first speech to parliament, Kristy McBain has vowed to “supercharge” bushfire recovery efforts in the region.
Ms McBain also took the opportunity today (31 August) to laud the resilience and character of the people of Eden-Monaro who are now enduring COVID-19 after facing the Black Summer fires and floods.
— Australian House of Representatives (@AboutTheHouse) August 31, 2020
“The communities of Eden-Monaro can be very proud of what they have achieved together so far,” Ms McBain said.
“We need to use those values to reshape our future based on the lessons that we have learnt along the way. The soaking rain we have had over the last few months cannot be allowed to dampen or delay the work and change that still needs to take place.
“The horrors of those days throughout December, January and February – days where the sun didn’t seem to rise – are still very real and very fresh in minds. Friends and family wake up with deep and lasting trauma.
“Tears are still flowing today… and nightmares still wake us at night. I am here … to fight for each and every one of the thousands of people affected by fire last summer.”
Ms McBain rose to national prominence as the Mayor of the Bega Valley Shire during the devasting 2019-20 bushfire season, which burnt thousands of houses and killed dozens of people in the region.
“In the blink of an eye our dependence on supply chains located a long way north, south and west were exposed,” she said.
“Fuel ran out, supermarkets were empty, stock were without feed – and power and communication were impossible for many.
“Regional infrastructure needs to be more robust and resilient – our lives and livelihoods depend on it. This is not just about safety, but also about local jobs.
“A reset button has been pushed. We need to work together – that’s what people expect.”
She also called on the Morrison Government to take more action on climate change.
“The impacts of climate change are writ large across the Eden Monaro landscape,” she said, “from the bare, black forests at the back of Tilba Tilba, to the spoilt grapes of Murrumbateman, to empty campsites at Tathra, to the not always snowy, Snowy Mountains.
“Action on climate change is long overdue.”
Ms McBain retained the seat for Labor at a by-election sparked by former MP Mike Kelly’s retirement from politics for health reasons. She holds the seat on a 0.8 per cent margin.