Scathing message to PM from fire region
A FAMILY who lost their home in recent devastating bushfires have used its charred remains to send a strong message to Prime Minister Scott Morrison.
Stu Mackay told news.com.au he spray-painted the debris of his property with messages aimed at the PM, claiming the federal government's desire to achieve a Budget surplus - instead of adequately funding firefighting - had taken his and his neighbour's homes.
In a series of powerful images shared to social media, Mr Mackay, whose property burned in devastating fires at Nymboida on November 9, a rural village in the NSW Northern Rivers region, stood by the wreckage of his family's home.
On charred pieces of corrugated iron, the father spray-painted messages aimed at Mr Morrison, directly responding to messages the PM had sent to Aussies throughout a horrific bushfire season.
"If only I'd prayed more," one message, sprayed on scorched pieces of corrugated iron read.
"Thoughts and prayers vs action," another said. "Our homes vs your surplus."
"It's to do with how I'm feeling," Mr Mackay told news.com.au. "Platitudes aren't action."
Mr Mackay said 80 other homes had been destroyed in the Nymboida region, and he and his wife Heather were now living in a tent as they prepared to rebuild their home.
As bushfire conditions became catastrophic in NSW, Mr Morrison tweeted he was sending his "thoughts and prayers" to those impacted by the escalating crisis.
Mr Mackay said he and his wife Heather had lost "everything" in the fires, along with numerous others in his community. He said the fires were on a "scale" that left local crews largely unable to tackle blazes in parts of Nymboida.
"The local RFS, I can't fault them, but they can't fault a fire like this," Mr Mackay said, saying people in the area needed the assistance of water bombers.
He said people in Nymboida told him they felt the government's desire to achieve a Budget surplus had cost people their homes.
He suggested a solution of funding a fleet of firefighting aircraft, paid for by the federal government.
Despite the devastation, the community has pulled together and are supporting one another.
Mr Mackay said one family who lost their own home to the bushfires and were left in a particularly needy situation were gifted a house by another family.
He said it was miraculous no one in Nymboida had died.
"But the fact no one died is not a reason for the government to ignore it," he said.
Mr and Mrs Mackay are now living at the site of their old home in a tent.
The couple has vowed to rebuild and have already begun the process among the ruins of their old home.
"By day one, I felt I couldn't keep going. But by day two I felt guilty if I didn't keep going," Mr Mackay said of rebuilding.
Nymboida was hit by the Liberation Fire Trail blaze, which affected a large area around the Clarence Valley. While the fire has now been controlled, it burned through more than 178,0000 hectares near the Nymboida, Glenreagh and Nana Glen areas.
Yesterday, the NSW RFS released statistics on the shocking impact to families in the state, with 612 homes already lost this bushfire season.
Of those, 503 were lost in the last two weeks alone. The fires have also tragically killed six people.
Despite the incredible devastation, the RFS has managed to save 7900 buildings.