Our Fair go for our Fireys campaign is expanding
THERE is a growing chorus of voices getting behind The Morning Bulletin's campaign for a 'Fair go for our fireys'.
With fire seasons starting sooner, running longer and becoming more intense, it's evident that more is needed to be done to support our firefighting volunteers who are taking time away from work, sometimes unpaid, to fight fires locally, around the state and interstate.
Recognising the importance of doing the right thing by our fireys, recent visitors to Rockhampton, Labor leader Anthony Albanese and Senator Murray Watt have shared images of the Bully's front page on their social media accounts.
They added their voices of support for the campaign to those including to State Labor members Rockhampton MP Barry O'Rourke, Keppel MP Brittany Lauga and Fire and Emergency Services Minister Craig Crawford.
Minister Crawford said Australia had a strong tradition of states helping out other states during extreme weather events.
"I don't want to see volunteers left out of pocket for helping communities in need," Mr Crawford said.
"However, with volunteer crews often crossing state borders to lend a hand, any discussion on financial support and leave arrangements needs a consistent national approach by the Federal Government.
"It's a shame the Prime Minister has cancelled the COAG meeting for this month and robbed Queensland of the opportunity to discuss this matter at a national level."
The Morning Bulletin has contacted Capricornia MP Michelle Landry and Minister for Northern Australia Matt Canavan seeking their support for the campaign and to lobby Prime Minister Scott Morrison to bring the states together (at COAG or something similar) to form an agreement on the issue.
Speaking about the bushfire crisis yesterday, Mr Morrison thanked the nation's employers for supporting their employees who were firefighting volunteers.
"They are making their commitment through enabling those firefighters to be out there in their community and I thank them very much for their sacrifice in this great national effort," Mr Morrison said.
"I would encourage Australians to come together, to provide that support that we're all providing, governments at all levels, local governments, state government, Federal Government, communities, all working together to support that firefighting effort, and we all have a role to play."
He said there was an extraordinarily co-ordinated effort between our fire chiefs, between all of our state and territory resources.
The Prime Minister announced a further $11 million for the aerial firefighting fleet on top of the $15 million they put in on annual basis.
"This has been done as a result of the engagement we've had with the states and territories through that nationally co-ordinated process," he said.
"Recently, we had a meeting of the state and territory ministers with Minister Littleproud, to deal with what the additional needs were. There are increasing cost pressures on some of these aviation assets and there is also the need to have the ability to concurrently deal with multiple fire threats around the country.
"So we have responded to that advice that has come up from the fire chiefs. The decision was not taken recently. It was taken over the course of preparing for the mid-year update and in response to the requests that had been made."
He said there were established protocols for making requests, acting on those requests, whether they're fiscal or whether they're resources or people or airlifts or defence force engagement.
"We all know this is a national disaster and we knew this was going to be a very tough fire season when we went into this season. We also know that there are many contributing factors that relate to these fires," he said
While laying blame on the drought and the dryness of the bush as the biggest factor behind the bushfires, Mr Morrison said "climate change, along with many other factors, contribute to what is occurring today".
"But let me be clear about this - climate change is a global challenge. Australia is playing our role as part of this global challenge," he said.
"In fact, today, I can tell you that emissions from Australia are lower today than at any other time than before we came to government."