January 06, 2020

Thank you to the members of our MLC community who have continued to share their concern and support for our Marshmead site and the local Mallacoota community.

As you may be aware, last Saturday was forecast as a significant fire danger day in the Mallacoota area and up along the NSW coastline. Whilst other communities have not been so lucky, I am very pleased to be able to report that the Marshmead site remains largely undamaged. Banksia remains in an ‘alert area’, though no immediate action is necessary.

My sincere thanks to two members of our Marshmead team who were given permission by the CFA Incident Controller to visit the Marshmead site today. (This followed an aerial CFA inspection yesterday afternoon, improved visibility, light winds and 5-10mm of rain overnight.)

They report that, whilst there is a great deal of ash and there are burnt embers around the site, the buildings and infrastructure remain intact. However, pasture property on the other side of Mount Marshmead (Dowell Creek) has been partially burnt.

Active fire continues to burn to the north and east of the Marshmead campus. The fire threat will continue in the area for some time with a gradual increase in temperature throughout the week. We are thankful for the few days of calmer conditions, allowing the CFA to tackle the many pockets of fire that continue to burn throughout the area.

As declared by the Victorian Premier, we are currently in a ‘State of Disaster’, across the East and North East of Victoria. We will continue to keep the situation at Marshmead under review and we will keep you and all members of our community informed as we have further reports to share, including the families of our 2020 Term 1 Marshmead students.

Meanwhile, I know it won’t surprise you to hear that we have been overwhelmed with heartfelt communications, via Facebook, email and phone, from many members of the MLC community who have offered support to the Marshmead and Mallacoota communities. The warmth and generosity of our community has been overwhelming.

Of course with the situation still unfolding, we are not currently in a position to be able to assess where our help and support might be most effective. Over the coming weeks we will be in direct contact with members of the Mallacoota community to best understand their needs and thus identify how MLC and members of our community might best provide support. As highlighted by the Victorian Premier yesterday, donations of goods are not being sought by relief agencies at this time. However, the Red Cross, Wildlife Victoria and many charitable organisations are seeking cash donations.

Importantly, I would like to close this update repeating my thanks to colleagues who are working tirelessly to support Marshmead and Banksia and to check the security of these locations. Additionally, I know all our thoughts remain with all communities across Australia who continue to be impacted by these unprecedented bushfires and to those members of the emergency services for their ongoing and incredible work in the face of such adversity.

We will be keeping you updated via Facebook and here on the MLC website on any further news.

With best wishes,

Diana Vernon

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