I think we can all agree, 2020 was year of broken expectations. We started with a black summer of fires, followed by a flood event and then a virus that challenged us in ways we could never had anticipated. It left many of us often feeling weary and uncertain. Particularly for us in the Mountains, bushfires suffocated our tourism and devastated our flora and fauna. Never before have I been so relieved to provide support like the Community Building Partnership grants, or advocate for locals who applied for NSW Small Business Grants.
I'm immensely proud of all our firefighters and emergency service personnel who put themselves on the line to protect our community. News stations broadcast our battle with flames to the world, over many long weeks and months, and we showed them what it means to work as a team. I'm also incredibly grateful for our animal welfare groups, who had the harrowing work of nursing the often forgotten victims of bush fires.
When Coronavirus came we had many new challenges ahead of us. One which few of us prepared for was isolation. Solitude hit some of our most vulnerable the hardest, including our senior community and victims of domestic violence. For our office it was about encouraging connection. Whether it was the phone calls we made to those finding it hard on their own, or creating a letter exchange between school children and the elderly, we did what we could to support those struggling in quarantine.
As I see normalcy creep back into our everyday lives, I feel hopeful about the year ahead. The silver lining to a hard year like 2020 is that we can learn from it.
It became very apparent to me there is a lot of work to be done to protect our vulnerable and support our frontline workers. The government said thank you but actions speak louder than words. You cannot say "thank you" to nurses and teachers by freezing their wages. You cannot say "thank you" to train guards, who kept transport running at their own risk, by replacing them with remote CCTV and distress buttons. You cannot say "thank you" to firefighters by taking their equipment away and risking their safety.
I'm looking forward to 2021. It's such a joy to work for the Blue Mountains, and I consider it a great privilege to fight for the community I call home and for people I care about.
- Trish Doyle in the State MP for Blue Mountains