“The first duty of government is the safety and protection of the people, but Australia has failed when it comes to climate change threats. Australia currently has no credible climate policy, leaving our nation unprepared for increasingly harsh impacts. We call upon all those offering themselves as political leaders in this election year to make climate change a primary focus and commit to mobilising the resources necessary to address this clear and present danger.” The Australian Security Leaders Climate Group” (ASLCG) (including Former Chief of the Australian Defence Force, Admiral Chris Barrie and Former Deputy Chief of the Royal Australian Air Force Air Vice-Marshal John Blackburn), 23 March 2022.
We face “Cascading, compounding and aggregate impacts on cities, settlements, infrastructure, supply-chains and services due to wildfires, floods, droughts, heatwaves, storms and sea-level rise”
IPCC sixth assessment report, February 2022
“They need to commit to implementing….all 80 recommendations of the Royal Commission. …I think we’ve seen with this government that they only address the squeaky wheel….let’s get really, really squeaky. They don’t like noisy Australians. Let’s all be naughty, noisy Australians and say we’d like you to get on board to save our planet….” Greg Mullins, Former Fire and Rescue NSW Commissioner (AO, AFSM), December 2021
“What we do over the next three to four years, I believe, is going to determine the future of humanity.”
Professor Sir David King, former Chief Scientific Advisor to the UK government, February 2020
“80% of the population was affected by poor air quality during the 2019-2020 bushfires.”
Bushfire Royal Commission, October 2020
“It’s like the bushfires have suddenly gone nuclear and we’ve only got conventional weapons.”
Greg Mullins, Former Fire and Rescue NSW Commissioner (AO, AFSM), September 2021
“If you’re under 30 years old and you’re exposed to this level of pollution, your cognitive function declines by the same amount as ageing by 15 years.”
Dr La Nauze, University of Queensland, November 2021
“A lot of climate change is locked in so adaption is a very important part of what we do.”
Dr Jaci Brown, CSIRO’s Climate Science Centre Director, November 2020
• Former and current fire chiefs agree with the Bushfire Royal Commission recommendations that Australia needs its own sovereign aerial fire fighting fleet in order to be prepared for more megafires. We currently own ONE Large Aerial Tanker (LAT) and have another leased for four years as of last year. Last year California (5% of our land size) had 18. British Columbia Wildfire Service (Canada) has 201.
• Our experience during the Black Summer shows that we will no longer be able to reliably borrow planes and crew from overseas, due to lengthening overlapping international fire seasons2.
•Out of 80 recommendations from the Bushfire Royal Commission, 66 of them were ‘noted’ but not actioned and 14 are not yet complete. This federal government stopped reporting on its progress in June 2021. They are all about WORDS NOT ACTION. We have seen this time and again, in their lack of response to corruption scandals, the Respect@Work report and of course the Royal Commission into the Bushfires. They like to pass the buck to the States and Territories (a familiar ploy from the pandemic) and have done so with the Bushfire Royal Commission recommendations3.
• The people who actually hold a hose, including former
Fire Chief Greg Mullins OAM are telling us we need to
use mass action and embarrassing media to force the
In a panel discussion in December 2021 4 he said:
“Look, get active…..Getting stuck in. Writing letters. Joining organisations…. It gets media attention and this government is all about spin and media, and it embarrasses them, and it actually makes them move….It does make a difference. ….They need to commit to implement….all 80 recommendations of the Royal Commission. …I think we’ve seen with this government that they only address the squeaky wheel….let’s get really, really squeaky. They don’t like noisy Australians. Let’s all be naughty, noisy Australians and say we’d like you to get on board…..”former Fire Chief Greg Mullins OAM 2021
• 80% of Australians were impacted by smoke during the Black Summer, with many of our most vulnerable (children, the elderly, outdoor workers) suffering manifold extra health issues and hospitalisations. Nearly 450 people died FROM SMOKE5. We need smoke plans for those in public housing, and we need air filters in all our schools, hospitals and aged care homes.
• Air quality readings above 200 are considered hazardous to health. On 1 Jan 2020, one Canberra monitoring centre peaked at 7700. Is this what you want your children breathing?
• TWO YEARS after the Fires, many victims who lost their homes have not been able to finish rebuilding. Many still live in caravans, On the NSW South Coast, it is fewer than 1 in 10 families who lost their homes!6 without easy access to water/sanitation.
• The federal government has spent billions on tanks and submarines, and billions on the pandemic. Yet, despite an estimated total loss for the Black Summer fires of $100 billion7, and related health care costs of $1.95 billion8, Australia has not been provided with the basic protections needed to cope with conditions which are predicted to become average by 2040. Former fire chiefs have been asking for this support (via a fully supported business case put to the government) since 20189.
8 Frontiers in Public Health journal, Physical and Mental Health Effects of Bushfire and Smoke in the
Australian Capital Territory 2019–20, Rodney et al.