Bushfires are currently devastating communities across Australia, tragically taking lives and destroying property. The fire danger level in parts of Australia has been ‘catastrophic’ – the first time this new warning levels has been activated. We extend our sympathies to everyone affected in this terrible time.
In recent days, 16 volunteer firefighters from the ACT will be working in support of NSW firefighting in the Port Macquarie area. We wish them every success in this huge effort and hope for their safe return.
This is an important moment for all of us to come together to tackle what is now the most dangerous bushfire week that Australia has ever seen.
Here’s some things that you can do to help support those affected in this tragic time:
- Support our rural firefighters
- Help those who’ve lost their homes
The Red Cross are providing services on the ground to families affected by the fires.
- Care for injured wildlife
Fires near Port Macquarie have devastated bushland for breeding koalas. Port Macquarie Koala Hospital are treating injured koalas and providing water to dry areas. The Rescue Collective are supporting burnt wildlife rescued from the QLD fires.
- Buy a Bale to Support regional farmers.
The bushfire emergency is a climate emergency.
This bushfire emergency is part of the broader climate change emergency. Climate change increases the risk of bushfires and makes bushfires more intense. It’s no surprise to climate scientists that Australian bushfires are of an ‘unprecedented’ scale year after year.
Here in Canberra, the ACT's rural fire chief has also been clear that climate change is having a significant effect on worsening bushfire conditions and firefighters' ability to predict and control fires.
The fire warning forecast for the ACT for the next few days is comparatively safe. But we cannot afford to be complacent; it will be a long summer.
Locally, if you have not already done so, now is a good time to download the ACT Bushfire survival plan which will help you plan for the worst.
In a climate emergency, climate action has never been more important.
The Federal Government’s platitudes, climate change denial and inaction are deplorable, and the Australian people have a right to be enraged. People are dying, communities are being devastated, and the Federal Government is more interested in the continuing profits of fossil fuel businesses than in addressing climate change.
Here in the ACT, the Greens are fighting hard for policies to mitigate the worst impacts of climate change. As the nation’s climate action capital, we’re already on track to deliver 100% renewable electricity by 2020, and we’ve secured a commitment to zero net emissions by 2045 or earlier, in step with the climate science.
In line with the evidence and expertise from scientists, ecologists and emergency service personnel, the Greens also support hazard reduction burns and backburning to reduce the impact of wildfire.
We’re proud of the action we’re taking on climate in the long term, and extremely proud of our ACT firefighters supporting their counterparts interstate right now.
In the meantime, please stay safe and look after one another.