Ticker-tape parade to honour bushfire heroes
BRISBANE will host a ticker-tape parade for Queensland's firefighters, Australia's first such event honouring the heroes of the bushfire crisis.
The event - likely mid-next month - will honour about 700 firefighters, volunteers, service personnel and wildlife carers. One of the heroes, yet to be named, will be handed the keys to the city.
It will be the first ticker tape parade through the city since last year's celebration of Commonwealth Games athletes.
Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner will on Thursday announce the parade, to run through the city centre and end at King George Square.
"This is an opportunity for Brisbane residents to recognise and publicly thank our courageous firefighters, defence force, emergency services and wildlife carers for their incredible efforts," he said.
"We have volunteer firefighters, some of whom who have dropped everything and left families and jobs behind to fight these fires interstate and across the southeast in the past few months.
"There are hundreds of other unsung heroes, including the SES, defence services, wildlife rescue groups and carers who have given their time and the expertise to the assist in the aftermath of one of this country's worst natural disasters."
Queensland volunteer firefighters have been fighting catastrophic blazes in NSW and last year many were deployed to fires across the southeast, including Chapel Hill, Mt Crosby, Gatton, Somerset, Kilcoy and Boonah.
Cr Schrinner also announced an initiative to allow owner-occupiers of residential properties to donate their pay-on-time rates discount to bushfire relief charities.
"Every owner-occupier resident receives a rates discount if they pay their rates on time and for the next round of rates notices, eligible residents can opt to donate that discount to the Lord Mayor's Charitable Trust which will be distributed for bushfire relief," he said.
"There has been a tragic loss of life, people have lost their homes, their possessions and businesses. In some cases, entire towns have been virtually wiped from the map.
"There are people who escaped the inferno with just the clothes on their back. They are still living in emergency shelters. Charities are on the ground and doing a phenomenal job supporting residents who are struggling right now.
"The vision of dead or injured wildlife and koalas has been particularly distressing, so it's important to also recognise the efforts of our wildlife carers, many of who are still caring for wildlife burnt during fires that raged to the west of Brisbane in November."
Those expected to be part of the parade include the 7th Combat Brigade from Gallipoli Barracks, Queensland Fire and Emergency Services, including the Rural Fire Service, SES volunteers, the Queensland police and ambulance services, National Parks and Wildlife Service, the Red Cross, Salvation Army, Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital and the RSPCA.
The Courier-Mail will pay tribute to firefighters and volunteers, neighbours who helped neighbours, mates who pitched in and the incredible generosity of Australi and and out friends abroad in a special life-out to be published on Tuesday, January 21. To send your personal note of thanks to our bushfire heroes, please email firstname.lastname@example.org