Media Releases

Media releases from the Office of Susan Templeman MP.

Enquiries from the media should be directed to the Media Adviser via the Electorate Office on (02) 4573 8222 or via email to [email protected]


September 30, 2021

As the eighth anniversary of the 2013 Winmalee bushfires approaches, Federal Member for Macquarie, Susan Templeman, says she is still remembering things that were destroyed when her home burnt down.


“My husband and I weren’t at home at the time, but my son was. He only had time to grab the cat, a couple of laptops, a box of photos and his bass guitar, and get out; but we consider ourselves lucky,” Ms Templeman said.


The fire destroyed 200 homes that day – 22 on Ms Templeman’s street alone – and it was years before the family was able to rebuild and return to the same block.


“Some residents came back, others didn’t,” Ms Templeman said.


“One of the hardest decisions people on the street had to make was to rebuild or move away. For some, the decision was based on the insurance payout.


“The big lesson for so many of us was to check your insurance. Insurers told us that the majority of people were massively under-insured to rebuild to the current bushfire standards.


“That’s still a big risk for people. We assume that the price we paid for our home is a good indication of its value, but rebuilding - especially now with a worldwide shortage of timber, which is pushing up prices, and much tougher rebuilding rules - means that it’s probably going to cost more than you think.


“The insurance companies encourage you to use an online calculator to estimate your rebuild costs. I chose to go with an insurer who works out the likely cost themselves, rather than leaves it to my estimate.”


As the next fire and storm seasons loom, Ms Templeman said it was important to share the message across the Blue Mountains: Be prepared for the challenges of natural disasters.


“We live in one of the most bushfire-prone areas in Australia, and it’s vital for people to sit down and prepare a fire plan as we come into the new season,” Ms Templeman said.


“Talk to your family and use the excellent online resources of the NSW Rural Fire Service to work out your plan.


“We can’t predict when these events are going to occur, but we can do our best to be prepared in case they affect us.”