Mayors from 12 councils in fire-stricken regions issued a statement urging the government to take climate change seriously and to increase funding to frontline services.
It comes one day after 23 former chiefs and deputy chiefs of fire services renewed their call for the Federal Government to take action to tackle climate change.
The statement, issued Friday by mayors from regions including the fire-stricken Bellingen, Mid-Coast and Noosa regions, said “the catastrophic conditions” for recent devastating fires “were, at least in part, fuelled by climate change”.
The mayors noted that Queensland experienced “catastrophic” category fire conditions for the first time in 2018 and Sydney did so for the first time this week.
“It is time to honestly and bravely address one of the major causes of these fires, climate change… We need to place the welfare and safety of citizens ahead of profit,” the statement said.
A group of Torres Strait Islander people are taking a complaint against the government’s inaction on climate change to the United Nations. Earlier this week, Scott Morrison, the prime minister, declined an invitation to meet them.
Former long-serving New South Wales fire chief Greg Mullins told the ABC that Mr Morrison has also ignored requests for a meeting to discuss climate change issued by the 23 former fire services leaders in April.
A build-up of intense heat that is driving the temperature into the mid to high 40s in Western Australia over the next two to three days will sweep across the country and into areas of New South Wales and Queensland already devastated by bushfires this week.
The bushfires have burnt through more than one million hectares of land, killing four people and destroying over 300 homes.
In comments provided by the office of the prime minister, Mr Morrison said his government has “a clear commitment to reduce emissions, 26 per cent by 2030”.
Mr Morrison, who as treasurer brandished a lump of coal in parliament and taunted the Opposition by calling out “it won’t hurt you”, said he acknowledges that climate change was a factor in the increased fire risk, as do “the vast majority of Australians”.
“We believe you need sensible, achievable targets to address climate change and we have them and we’re achieving them,” he said, adding that the opposition Labor Party’s plan is to reduce carbon emissions by “roughly three times” what the government aims to achieve by 2030.
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