ACT Greens deliver an Australian Parliamentary first: ACT to deliver bushfire smoke and air quality strategy


As a result of Greens leadership, the ACT has today become the first Australian parliament to commit to a whole-of-government strategy on bushfire smoke and air quality.

Today an ACT Greens motion called on the ACT Government to create a Whole of Government strategy on bushfire smoke and air quality in the ACT, to be completed and released before the beginning of the next fire season. The motion received strong tri-partisan support. 

“Australia suffered a record-breaking summer in 2018-19, and many people called it Australia’s 'angry summer'. Well, this year’s summer of smoke has been apoplectic,” ACT Greens leader Shane Rattenbury said today.

“For months we've all watched the fires, willing them to go out, not knowing if they might reach our homes in Canberra, and hoping that people, properties, animals, and the precious natural environment would be spared.

“Here in Canberra, on several occasions we experienced the worst air quality in the entire world. No-one expected this to happen. Sadly, with climate change a reality, we can’t assume these ‘smokewaves’ will be a one-off.

“We need a comprehensive Government plan to tackle bushfire smoke and its impacts. Today, the Greens are proud to have delivered an Australian parliamentary first to ensure that this smoke and air quality strategy is realised before our next fire season.

“The unprecedented air quality problems have exposed a variety of issues that the ACT Government needs to consider, including:

•             extent and quality of indoor and outdoor air quality monitoring and data;

•             availability and distribution of face masks;

•             ability of buildings to protect people from smoke;

•             measures to protect vulnerable people from smoke;

•             air quality standards for workers, especially outdoor workers;

•             air quality standards for events, including sporting events;

•             mental health and wellbeing support during extended smoke events;

•             availability of public places for people to shelter from smoke; and

•             availability of public information and research on air quality issues.

“The Greens are proud to have committed the ACT Government to prepare for future air quality events in a coordinated and comprehensive way.”

Statements ends

Lisa Wills             M 0481 035 764                E