Ray Martin returns to PRIME7 to present a special The Forgotten Australians, on the aftermath of one of the worst fire seasons in our nation’s history, focusing on the victims left behind.
“The Forgotten Australians are still living hand to mouth”, says Ray. “In a ravaged landscape, we have met people who haven’t had access to their own shower for two years; a family who lost everything still battling the bureaucracy at a local level, and those still trying to find peace 12 months on from those catastrophic days.”
Paul Patrick, PRIME7 Director of News & Current Affairs added, “This is an essential program for regional Australia. COVID-19 has taken so much energy this year, but for so many people living in regional areas, the bushfires of last summer are still in front of them every day. Ray and his producer, veteran newsman Max Uechtritz have given their stories light, and it is vital that everyone sees what these people have been experiencing.”
The 2019-20 ‘Black Summer’ bushfires killed 35 people, 3 billion animals and destroyed 3,000 homes and buildings. Yet before Australians could take a breath, the global COVID-19 pandemic hit and Australia’s most vulnerable communities were faced with a second wave of crisis.
So what has happened since? Millions of dollars have been donated to various causes, so it would be natural to think that the various governments and agencies have been quick to help those in need. However, what Ray uncovers in this PRIME7 News investigation is that communities have largely been left to fend for themselves. Essential equipment has not been repaired or replaced and communities continue to battle red-tape at every turn.
Yet amongst the heartache, Ray has found hope. Resilient and courageous regional communities are coming together, helping each other and trying to make the best of a terrible situation.
The Forgotten Australians reveals how lives are being rebuilt – homes are slowly rising from the ashes, and communities are doing the best they can – but the mental health impact on victims cannot be ignored. We discover how the pandemic combined with the bushfire aftermath has caused community breakdowns, and what is being done to rectify it.
7:30pm Monday December 7 on PRIME7.