A Burning Issue
A Better Way to Reduce Bushfire Risk
Bushfire risk is part of the Australian landscape. However, the natural cycle of fire has changed as a result of human activity.
Research shows that seven out of ten wildfires start through human activity. Whether or not fires are deliberately lit, the impacts on lives, emergency services, property and the environment are enormous. Climate change science tells us that we are likely to experience more extreme fire seasons in the future.
The Greens aim to increase awareness of the risks of fire, help people to fireproof their homes and assets and regulate housing in areas that are inherently high risk for bushfires. The Greens believe that hazard reduction (including deliberate burning to reduce fuel loads) is appropriate in some circumstances. Hazard reduction needs to balance competing social, economic and environmental factors, and be based on best available science.
The Greens will:
Legislate to ensure that both volunteer and paid firefighters are covered by workers’ compensation regimes by being given the benefit of “presumptive causation” in relation to forms of cancer known to be associated with fighting fires;
Boost resourcing to properly recruit, train and equip our Country Fire Service brigades;
Replace mandatory burn quotas with evidence-based, fluctuating hazard reduction burns to reduce fuel loads at appropriate times in bushfire prone areas;
Create communal public safety areas and support fire-proofing of public and community buildings, in high-risk areas;
Improve early-warning systems, including SMS and telephone alerts to residents in affected areas;
Increase accountability of Government for controlled burns;
Regulate developments in high-bushfire-risk areas and require bushfire design principles to be incorporated.
Additionally, the increasing severity of bushfire seasons highlights the need to tackle climate change. The Greens see reducing our greenhouse gas emissions as a responsibility that can’t be ignored.