Emergency Leaders for Climate Action – a coalition that’s now grown to include 29 former emergency services bosses – is calling for a national summit to fill the “leadership vacuum” left by the Morrison government.
Former Fire and Rescue NSW commissioner Greg Mullins says the group is prepared to act if the federal government doesn’t.
“I hope the prime minister will suddenly show some national leadership and say ‘Yes, I get it and I can see it and we’ll get people together to deal with the crisis’,” he told AAP.
“But I don’t see any suggestion that’s going to happen. They really are missing in action.”
Prime Minister Scott Morrison recently announced $11 million for aerial firefighting.
Mullins argues the government was “embarrassed” into providing that funding.
“My major concern with the policy response from Canberra is they have resisted extra funding requests, initially resisted the use of the military, and they were embarrassed into doing those things.”
Emergency Leaders for Climate Action wants a national emergency summit to be held at the end of the current bushfire season.
The group says the prime minister and Labor leader Anthony Albanese should be involved.
Former ACT Emergency Services Authority commissioner Peter Dunn says climate change is contributing to massive droughts and extreme weather events.
“The fires in those circumstances will be difficult to control,” he told AAP.
“The thing that comes through all the time is we need to coordinate at a national level new methods of firefighting.
“Business as usual doesn’t work and we need a roundtable to get that sort of thinking with all agencies involved.”
Almost 2000 firefighters were battling more than 100 blazes across NSW on Monday while bushfires also raged in Queensland and Western Australia.
Medical groups on Monday said smoke pollution from the bushfires was a public health emergency that the prime minister and NSW premier could not ignore.
Former Tasmania Fire Service chief Mike Brown says there needs to be a fresh national approach to bushfire management “across the board”.
“Fires don’t recognise state boundaries. We need services to be able to adapt to this new normal,” he told AAP.
“We are seeing major losses at the moment and we are only a week into summer. There’s some urgency about this.”
Want to comment?
Send us an email, making it clear which story you’re commenting on and including your full name (required for publication) and phone number (only for verification purposes). Please put “Reader views” in the subject.
We’ll publish the best comments in a regular “Reader Views” post. Your comments can be brief, or we can accept up to 350 words, or thereabouts.
InDaily has changed the way we receive comments. Go here for an explanation.
Local News Matters
Media diversity is under threat in Australia – nowhere more so than in South Australia. The state needs more than one voice to guide it forward and you can help with a donation of any size to InDaily. Your contribution goes directly to helping our journalists uncover the facts. Please click below to help InDaily continue to uncover the facts.