The Hillville bushfire burns out of control behind a memorial cross on the Pacific Highway at Possum Brush south of Taree in the Mid North Coast region of NSW, Tuesday, November 12, 2019. (AAP Image/Darren Pateman)
The Hillville bushfire burns out of control behind a memorial cross on the Pacific Highway at Possum Brush south of Taree in the Mid North Coast region of NSW, Tuesday, November 12, 2019. (AAP Image/Darren Pateman)

Mayor calls on government to act on climate change

TWEED's mayor Katie Milne has joined 11 of her colleagues calling on the federal government to recognise the link between the increasing catastrophic weather events such as the current bushfires and climate change.

The unified call comes while NSW continues to burn through a series of bushfires.

Cr Milne led the council earlier this year to declare a climate change emergency.

The Tweed is one of 71 councils across Australia which have taken this position.

Cr Milne said the statement made by the 12 councillors reflected the feelings of many in the community.

"If the Government doesn't start treating this as a climate emergency, it is hard to feel confident that they will do what is necessary to address it," Cr Milne said.

"People are starting to get really frustrated and angry about this with more and more protests.

"The Government needs to act, not just lock up these people who are parents and grandparents desperately worried about the future and their children."

 

The full statement reads:

 

The fires this week in Australia have placed hundreds of thousands of people in great danger.

The catastrophic conditions for these fires were, at least in part, fuelled by climate change.

13 of the 14 hottest years on record have occurred this century. Last year Queensland experienced catastrophic fire conditions for the first time. This week, Sydney experienced catastrophic fire conditions for the first time.

Climate change has grave costs for our community that can no longer be ignored. The fires on across Australia this week have caused catastrophic damage.

In the past week, people have lost their lives, their loved ones, and their homes. Many businesses have lost the ability to operate and trade.

Our air has been filled with smoke, making it hard to breathe and affecting thousands of people with respiratory issues.

Fire seasons are now starting earlier and lasting longer. Apart from the stress this takes on first responders and communities, it also results in a shrinking window to carry out hazard reduction burns.

Now, it is time to honestly and bravely address one of the major causes of these fires, climate change.

Now we need to significantly increase funding to frontline services.

Now we need to place the welfare and safety of citizens ahead of profit, and to support those companies offering real solutions.

Some regional towns are already running out of water. How will they survive the next fire?

Many in the insurance industry are saying that large areas of Australia will be uninsurable.

This government has the chance to be the first to turn the years of inaction and neglect into action and focus and allow our communities to reap the rewards

When we have a crisis, it makes sense for us to listen to emergency service professionals.

Now, it makes sense for our federal government to listen to the warnings of those on the frontline.

We need the government to acknowledge the link between climate change and bushfire, we need more funding for all emergency services, and we need the government to take the action required to prevent megafires.

Now is not the time for blame. Now is the time for leadership, and keeping all Australians safe.



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