TRACY and Luke Edwards couldn’t have picked a better time to arrive in Canberra after walking all the way from Port Campbell with three search and rescue dogs.
As they headed towards Parliament House in sub-zero temperatures yesterday morning Australians were waking up to the news of an overnight earthquake in Gippsland.
Fortunately, the 5.3 magnitude quake left no casualties, but the potential need for skilled rescue dogs was apparent.
Mr and Ms Edwards walked 1000 kilometres in 62 days at their own expense to highlight the contribution made by working dogs and the need for more co-ordination.
Wannon MP Dan Tehan, who has been following the couple’s progress, met them with opposition attorney-general Senator George Brandis at Parliament House to announce the opposition’s proposal for an Australian Search Dog Framework to co-ordinate resources and the efforts of hundreds of volunteers.
“It was a fantastic result for us,” Mr Edwards told The Standard.
“Everyone was very positive about the plan. There are a lot of different groups doing great work with trained dogs, but there’s no national leadership.
“A national taskforce could co-ordinate resources for responding to rescue and disaster work and organise training quality.”
Mr Edwards, who works with Wannon Water in Warrnambool, was deployed to the aftermath of the Black Saturday bushfires at Kinglake with his dogs and also help to identify endangered tiger quoll sites in the Otways.
“The walk was a big personal challenge for us and the dogs handled it very well,” he said.
“When we get home next week they’ll be looking for some very long walks.”
Ms Edwards is a Port Campbell parks ranger.