Tasmanian broker says fires may hold a spark of opportunity

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Hobart mortgage broker Richard Denholm remembers his first day of school, back in ’67, smelling of smoke under the backdrop of a bright orange sky. Fires tore through Tasmania on that day, just as they have been since last weekend – though thankfully, so far, this time no one has been killed.

Denholm, who can see the smoke rising in the hills 25 minutes’ drive from his office, says he’s still trying to get hold of one client who may be affected by the fires, but says that, in general, Tasmanians are optimistic.

“I think they’re coping pretty well, but it’s been pretty warm days every day. I think it really depends on the winds. At the moment everything seems pretty under control. If we get some more really hot days though…”

He says the main source of grief, aside from lost homes and damaged property, has been the isolation of some parts of the country due to down power poles and debris blocking access along major roadways.

“There’s a lot of people that they’re taking out by boat. There was a rumour going about that the insurance on hire cars wouldn’t cover you if the car was damaged by the fire, so tourists were worried – they wouldn’t take the boats. But that's been cleared up now.”

However, while the state is engulfed in a smoky haze, Denholm says there may be one bit of fresh air filtering though the ashes.

“It’s a funny one. Sometimes things like this can actually be good. Our economy is really struggling at the moment and there’s going to be all this building activity. There might be good that comes out of it in the end, but it’s hard to say. Dunalley... it could be devastated, but at the same time you might have all the tradesmen going in there and then all the local building industries will get a bit of demand from that. Who knows?”

  • Wozza on 9/01/2013 11:40:07 AM

    I suggest your editor demonstrates a bit more compassion instead of trying to be clever with a headline.

  • Billyboy on 8/01/2013 12:06:49 PM

    To Duncan, in fact it was Richard Denholm who made the statement that it may be good for the economy (no Mackenzie).

    Not being in his position, it's hard for me to comment; but I assume as a local he's looking for any positives that can come from this disaster. We shouldn't judge him on that.

    In terms of 'Tazmania', isn't that a fictional land where the Tassie Devil comes from. Been watching too much Looney Tunes Mackenzie!!!

  • VBLENDAHAND on 8/01/2013 12:05:45 PM

    Reminds me of an old footy chant, "Razza Razza Razza whiskas on ya Tazza" ..... hope our fellow Tassie brokers can still raise a laugh after what they have been through. Go well.

  • BradQ on 8/01/2013 11:47:26 AM

    haha... good work Mackenzie!

  • Duncan on 8/01/2013 10:25:06 AM

    If you could grow an economy by burning down buildings and rebuilding them, we'd be doing it. Such a silly statement, something a banker would say.
    Why don't you go burn down your house and help our economy Mackenzie?

  • thomas on 8/01/2013 9:56:18 AM

    Who spells Tasmania with a 'Z'?

  • Allan Faint on 8/01/2013 9:04:15 AM

    I asume tradies will get some work out of this but insurance premiums will probably be increased. My concern will be those in the 50 plus age group who may be affected by the not unsuitable loan criteria, you know those who are not being descriminated against because of age. There will be some I am sure, even with insurance, who will have to change their home loans or take out new ones to get the house sorted. how are lenders going to look at these people, are they going to knock back the loans due to no loan escape plan, considering rentals or caravans will be more suitable for their long term. Looking forward to some rain to clear the air of smoke. TASMANIA!!

  • GN on 8/01/2013 8:58:14 AM

    Note to the Editor:
    When I went to school it was TASMANIA
    When did it become Tazmania? LOL

  • Mackenzie McCarty on 8/01/2013 8:56:57 AM

    Oh dear,

    Looks like the yankee hasn't had her cup of coffee yet this morning. I give you all full permission to make as many "dumb American" jokes as you like - but just for today :-)! Note to self: This will also serve as a reminder to double-check spell-check; apparently, Bill Gates thinks Tasmania is spelled with a "z" as well. Have a great day, everyone!

  • BradQ on 8/01/2013 8:46:54 AM

    How do you spell tasmania?

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