A dry autumn and a dry spring were precursors to Ash Wednesday and Black Saturday.

I’ll repeat that: a dry autumn and a dry spring were precursors to Ash Wednesday and Black Saturday and the massive losses that this nation suffered through those tragedies. We have now had a dry autumn and are expecting a dry spring.

My CFAs across Victoria and the fire services across Australia are preparing themselves to protect the people of Australia against the scourge of bushfires.

It’s my understanding as a former firey myself that this could be a very, very difficult summer for us. My farmers have expected rain in south and west Gippsland. In parts we have and in parts we haven’t.

I’d just like to get in front of the story to give out a shout-out to those fire services, those fire men and women who will be protecting us this summer against a most difficult enemy, that enemy being nature itself.

So, to every one of you who is preparing for us, from the Western District all the way to the border in Victoria and right across the eastern states, here’s the best to you for this fire season.