Visiting on June 14, Mr MacKellar met with members of the central and regional government in Udine, the capital of Friuli-Venezia Giulia.
“I feel dismayed seeing the huge damage this region has suffered,” he said.
“Having personally visited the area, I’m able to deeply understand the gravity of the problems that must be resolved and the courage demonstrated by the victims in the wake of the disaster.”
Having overcome the initial shock, locals have begun focusing on rebuilding their towns and discussing the reconstruction process realistically, and they’re under no illusions.
Mr MacKellar had the chance to speak with many residents and was impressed with their wise attitudes and the way they were confronting the problem.
He also found that the victims had no desire to leave their home and move elsewhere, because they feel that their region needs them now to help it rise from the ashes.
Whoever visits the region can’t help but be moved by what locals have already done and the great effort which has gone into freeing the affected towns from tonnes and tonnes of rubble.
Meanwhile, residents are already repairing buildings that didn’t suffer severe damage.
Upon his return to Australia, Mr MacKellar promised to update the Italian community on the situation in Friuli-Venezia Giulia and discuss what Australia will do to assist in the reconstruction of the destroyed towns.