The Cobargo resident told Network 10 she did not believe the prime minister's visit was genuine. "He wasn't here to help us, was he?" She said she refused to shake his hand "until he gave more funding to the RFS (Rural Fire Service)".
"It broke my heart, I would have happily sat down and had a cuppa with him if he'd just asked if I was okay," she said. "I told him it was a war zone, and he walked away, and it broke my heart.
"I couldn't do anything but stand there," Salucci-McDermott said, adding that she was "in shock" when Morris grabbed her hand. The young mother said she lost everything in the fire – except her car and what she was able to pack into it.
Two people died and many lost their homes after the brushfire ravaged Cobargo. Resources are thin and firefighters are still working every day, despite experiencing their own loss, Salucci-McDermott told Network 10.
Salucci-McDermott is not the only Cobargo resident disappointed in the prime minister.for the lack of resources to deal with the fires.
"Every single time this area has a flood or a fire, we get nothing. If we were Sydney, if we were north coast, we would be flooded with donations with urgent emergency relief," a resident in Cobargo told The Associated Press.
These devastating wildfires have prompted a state of emergency in New South Wales – the third declaration since the start of Australia's fire season began. The flames have forced thousands to flee in south eastern Australia and killed at least 19 people, including three firefighters.