Going live in an impassioned press conference today, six former Australian fire chiefs, boasting up to 40 years of experience each, blasted the Australian government for doing absolutely jackshit to minimise fire risks around the country.
Former Fire & Rescue NSW Commissioner Greg Mullins kicked off the speeches, immediately clarifying that “underlying [this bushfire emergency] is a climate emergency.”
The Aus Gov Ignored Calls And Warnings From Fire Chiefs
Three months ago RFS Commissioner Fitzsimmons: “The next 3 or 4 months will see above-average temperatures, below-average rainfall and no sign of drought-breaking rain,”
The same advice came from climate scientists & the BOM. The Govt didn’t take any notice. Why? #NSWbushfires
— Tony Lomas (@TonyLomas) 11 November 2019
Mullins spoke of how fire chiefs had been trying to speak with Scott Morrison’s government since April, but had been ignored and brushed off. He said that he and 23 former fire, SES and national park chiefs had all expressed their grave concerns around temperature increases and reductions in rainfall and more severe droughts, yet were shut down.
“This fire season is going to go for months, so do we just simply get gagged? Because I think that’s what’s happening,” he said.
“It’s OK to say it’s arsonists’ fault, or that the ‘greenies’ are stopping hazard reduction burning, which simply isn’t true, but you’re not allowed to talk about climate change. Well, we are, because we know what’s happening.”
Mullins described how they had known that catastrophic bushfire danger was coming our way, and that they’d tried to warn the government of severe bushfire dangers.
“We knew that a bushfire emergency was coming.”
It’s not just the QUALIFIED scientists telling us climate change affects this now. It’s also former fire and emergency chiefs. People have lost their lives, homes, and loved ones as a result of these bushfires and we’re not even in our traditional bushfire season yet.
— It’s Dootvember (@HuffleBuff2412) November 14, 2019
He made a point to drive home that the bushfires were absolutely climate change driven extreme weather events, and unfolded exactly how they predicted.
Mullins, representing all former fire chiefs, called on the government for two main things.
#1 We Need More Resources For Fire Services
We reported earlier that the government had an active role in escalating bushfire carnage by slashing fire services by millions of dollars.
99.4% of NSW is in drought. The state is tinder-dry. The climate catastrophe is accelerating. Yet Gladys Berejiklian thought it was a good idea to cut the RFS budget by 75% this year?!
This is a failure of leadership. The govt must be held accountable. #nswpol #nswfires pic.twitter.com/ePdKhTP85F
— Stephen (@TheAviator1992) 10 November 2019
Mullins called for better funding and resources for fightfighters, to keep people and properties safe.
Bob Conray, another former fire chief who has around 40 years of experience dealing with fires, said we also need more spending and resources in being able to fix the damages that are going to be brought on by future and inevitable devastating fires.
On top of all that, they also urged the government to create better mental and physical health services for firefighters who they said were abused by the government.
“We call on the government to understand that you wont have these people in the future if you keep abusing them now.”
#2 We Need Urgent Action On Climate Change
Mullins called climate change the fundamental action that is leading to devastating climate emergencies like these bushfires.
He called out oil, coal and gas burning as the key drivers of climate change, and called out the government for not doing enough to mitigate emissions that are putting lives at risk.
American firefighters are shouting the same arguments, only to be ignored by governments who have their hands in the pockets of coal miners.
Lee Johnson, the former Fire Commissioner for Queensland, talked about how abnormal and unprecedented these weather changes are.
He said that it’s crazy that we are focusing on bushfires when it is flood season in Queensland, and right now should be a heavy rain and storm period.
Tasmanian Fire Service chief Mike Brown called on governments to start listening to the experts, in an eerie echo of Greta Thunberg’s speeches. He said the government needs to start listening to those who are on the ground, informed and are seeing with their own eyes the devastation caused by climate change.
Basically, Fire Chiefs Need The Government To Actually Take Climate Change And Fossil Fuel Emissions Seriously
The take home message was that the government is not doing enough about climate change, that we need more resources to cope with fires, and that they need to curb emissions if we want a future.
The thing is, the Government just proposed a bill to stop courts from rejecting coal mines on the basis of their dangeorus emissions – on Catastrophic Tuesday. They clearly don’t care about climate change.
We’re worried that this call will only be met with further ridicule and mockery from the government. After all, Scott Morrison has outright lied to the UN about our emissions stats, which have actually been increasing at terrifying levels due to our sick love affair with coal.