Dedicated volunteer firefighters, backed by government agencies, saved numerous lives and community assets during a summer of unprecedented bushfires across Australia.
Dairy Connect Farmers Group president Graham Forbes paid tribute to the work of volunteers who put their own lives at risk while they spent time away from their families and properties.
“We extend our deepest sympathy to the families that have lost loved ones as a result of these devastating bushfires,” Mr Forbes said.
“In NSW, almost five million hectares, which covers an area larger than the Netherlands, had been burned.
“We should acknowledge also the ongoing and valuable work of the Department of Primary Industries, NSW Farmers, Local Land Services and the local government councils impacted by fires."
NSW dairy farmers were assisted with collection of milk, provision of fodder and diesel for generators by processors, Dairy Australia and Dairy NSW.
Dairy liaison officer Neil Moss of Scibus contacted all affected dairy farmers, ensuring appropriate support was provided, after being appointed by Local Land Services.
The Rural Fire Service surveyed the total number of damaged homes in NSW and confirmed 1995 homes were destroyed, with 816 homes damaged.
Dairy Connect chief executive officer Shaughn Morgan said local communities were "brilliantly" served by the spirit of volunteerism and community service.
“We shouldn’t overlook the role played by paramedics and police, and our telcos (telecommunications companies) and energy providers who have been working against the clock to restore services to isolated communities,” Mr Morgan said.
“Which in the case of dairy farmers are vital to ensure the continued milking and welfare of their dairy cows.
“Australian Defence Force reservists and the ADF itself providing aircraft and maritime vessels have delivered invaluable logistic support.
“Church groups, members of the Country Women’s Association and charities have opened their halls and generously fed firefighters and fire victims.
“Then there are the generous community residents who have opened their homes to displaced fire victims.”