As a nation struggles to comprehend the devastating accident in lutruwita/Tasmania that has taken the lives of five children and critically injured others, the implications of this tragedy are far-reaching.
Along with the profound impact on the families who lost children, this disaster will have lifelong effects on all associated with it, including the friends and classmates of the children who died, the teachers and staff at the school, first responders and health professionals, journalists and media reporting on the event and the broader Devonport and Tasmanian community.
While the immediate focus of the response is on providing care to those directly affected, over time there will be an ongoing need to support the community in dealing with the far-reaching trauma that this event has caused.
Below Croakey editor, Jennifer Doggett, provides a summary of responses from political leaders and highlights the recognition from a medical college of the particular impact on healthcare workers and first responders.
Jennifer Doggett writes:
Political leaders yesterday sent messages of condolence to the families and others affected by the tragedy and pledged support for the Devonport community.
Both Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, and Leader of the Opposition, Anthony Albanese, recognised the role of first responders in their Tweets.
The Governor of Tasmania, Barbara Baker, released a brief statement offering “whatever comfort” her office is able to provide at what she said was a ”profoundly sad time”.
Tasmanian Premier, Peter Gutwein, described the tragedy as “utterly devastating and heartbreaking for all involved”.
“I am certain that I speak for all Tasmanians in extending my deepest sympathies to the family, friends, and loved ones of everyone affected by this tragedy.
On a day when school children are celebrating the end of term, so close to Christmas, it is simply inconceivable that this shocking tragedy has occurred.
We stand ready to provide whatever support we can to the families directly impacted, the students, staff, the broader community, and emergency services and our first responders who I know have also been deeply impacted.
I know that this is a strong and caring community that will stand together and support one another with love and kindness to get through this.
I know that I speak for all Tasmanians when I say that we all will stand with you through this difficult time.
My heart goes out to everyone impacted by this tragic event.”
Australasian College for Emergency Medicine
A statement from the Australasian College for Emergency Medicine (ACEM) said that the College “stands with Tasmania” and urged health professionals and first responders to the tragedy to reach out if they needed support.
ACEM President Dr Clare Skinner said: “Our thoughts are with the families, friends, carers and teachers of the children who have been injured or lost their lives. We can only imagine the emotional impact of this tragic event in a small, close-knit community. We are all thinking of you.”
ACEM Tasmanian Chair Dr Juan Ascencio-Lane said: “It has been a far-reaching event. Many hearts have been broken. But we stand together, and we stand for our family of emergency responders.”
“I fear that this event will take its toll mentally on so many of those within our family. This is a time when we all need to stand together. To any of our emergency responder colleagues: please reach out if you need support. We are thinking of you, and we are here for you.”
If you need help please call:
Lifeline on 13 11 14
Kids Helpline on 1800 551 800
MensLine Australia on 1300 789 978
Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467
Beyond Blue on 1300 22 46 36
Headspace on 1800 650 890
QLife on 1800 184 527