For the first time, 23 former Fire and Emergency Chiefs with more than 600 years of combined experience have banded together to call for stronger action on climate change, warning that worsening extreme weather is threatening Australian lives.
“Emergency services are on the frontline of climate change and are witnessing devastating consequences first hand. We are deeply concerned about the lack of climate action at a national level and felt obligated to speak out,” said Greg Mullins, former NSW Fire and Rescue Commissioner.
“Emergency services are facing an escalating crisis. In the last year we’ve seen unseasonal fires in Tasmania, Victoria, New South Wales, Queensland and Western Australia, floods and twin cyclones in parts of northern Australia, longer bushfire danger periods, and fires burning in rainforests.
“Rising greenhouse gas pollution from the burning of coal, oil and gas, is worsening extreme weather and putting people in danger.
Emergency responders are doing their best to protect Australians from worsening extreme weather, but the Federal Government just hasn’t stepped up to do its part by rapidly and deeply reducing our emissions,” said Mr Mullins.
The chiefs have issued a joint statement, with signatories from every state and territory. It calls on the Prime Minister to:
- Meet with a delegation of former emergency services leaders to discuss rapidly escalating climate change risks.
- Commit to a parliamentary inquiry into whether Australian emergency services are adequately resourced and equipped to cope with increasing natural disaster risks due to climate change.
- Consider current arrangements and their effectiveness and properly fund strategic national emergency management resources.
“Our priority is keeping Australians safe, and ensuring the brave men and women who are working in increasingly dangerous conditions, have all the support and equipment they need to do their job,” said Mr Mullins.
“We have come together from across the country and issued this call to action because climate change is dangerous; and the safety and well-being of Australians is not up for debate.
“We can’t afford to ignore the issue, and neither can our country’s leaders,” said Mr Mullins.
To view the statement, click here.
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