Premier calls for climate protest to be delayed
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has joined pleas for a Melbourne climate protest to be called off, saying protesters risk losing public support.
Mr Andrews says the Uni Students for Climate Justice will jeopardise their standing by staging a protest which will divert police resources on a day of extreme fire danger.
But the students have renewed their determination to go ahead with Friday's CBD protest.
Another spike in bushfire conditions is expected in Victoria's east on Friday.
"I don't disagree with them on a range of different points they'd make," the premier told 3AW on Thursday.
"But I tell you what, you lose me and you lose a lot of other fair-minded Victorians who believe in climate change when you have a protest, when you've been told point-blank you are diverting police resources.
"We should have police and all of our emergency services out there tomorrow saving lives tomorrow, not dealing with protests.
"That's how you lose people who formerly were with you ... you run the risk of jeopardising that sort of support.
"Tomorrow isn't about climate change, tomorrow is about keeping people safe in a very signfiicant bushfire emergency."
But earlier on Thursday the protesters released a statement, saying they are holding fast under government and police pressure.
"Protesters are not to blame for the lack of emergency services - state and federal governments are the ones who have cut millions in funding to fire departments, while they give billions in tax subsidies to the fossil fuel industries," said spokesperson Anneke Demanuele.
"We'll stop the protest if the Liberal and Labor governments stop supporting the fossil fuel industry."
The Melbourne protest is one of a number planned on Friday and Saturday around the country.