Ex fire service chiefs call for climate-related disaster response

Former fire and emergency service leaders have called for a national climate disaster fund to help protect Australians from an “unprecedented era of climate-related disaster”.

Emergency Leaders for Climate Action (ECLA) are also calling for better-resourced fire and land management agencies, and the acquisition of a medium and large aerial firefighting capability for state and territory fire services.

ECLA released its Australian Bushfire and Climate Plan this week, developed following the National Bushfire and Climate Summit 2020.

The plan outlines 165 recommendations for more effective bushfire readiness, response, and recovery, including urging the Federal Government to commit to net zero emissions, strengthen Australia’s 2030 emissions reductions targets, and the managed phase-out of all fossil fuels.

Climate Councillor and former Fire and Rescue NSW commissioner Greg Mullins said: “This plan outlines practical steps that all levels of government can take right now to better protect communities. It’s important that the Federal Government takes these recommendations seriously and acts on them urgently.”

In related news, West Australian local governments are being allocated more than $6 million by the State Government to mitigate bushfire risks.

The money from the first round of the 2020-21 Mitigation Activity Fund (MAF) Grants Program will help fund 612 mitigation activities on Crown lands managed by local government and deemed to be at high risk of bushfire.

Activities will include mechanical treatments to reduce fuel levels, creating firebreaks, and scheduling planned burns; these will occur in areas from the Great Southern to the Goldfields-Midlands and metropolitan Perth.

Click here for details of the 21 councils awarded grant funding.