This is a national emergency that needs a national response. We have been calling for a national approach to this bushfire emergency since November. We welcome the recent utilisation of the Australian Defence Force and the announcements of a new Bushfire Recovery Agency, but it shouldn’t have taken this long for the Government to take action.
We have seen unprecedented scenes as drought, unseasonably high temperatures and high winds have combined to wreak havoc on bushland and nearby communities. It is of extreme concern that bushfires of this severity are occurring so early each year and this is more evidence of the need for the Morrison Government to take serious action on climate change.
The Federal Opposition is deeply grateful for the efforts of fire and emergency services personnel and the many volunteers who have assisted in fighting these bushfires. We also commend the residents of affected regions for their cooperation with bushfire authorities.
There is no doubt that climate change is increasing the frequency and severity of extreme weather events and natural disasters.
The scientists have been telling us this and unfortunately their predictions were true.
Labor is the only party of government that is committed to real action on climate change, which is why we have declared a climate emergency.
Strong climate action is needed, not only to protect the prosperity of future generations of Australians and to meet our international obligations under the Paris climate change Accords, but also to deliver prosperity today by modernising our economy and adapting to inevitable climate impacts.
Labor’s approach to climate change policy will continue to be guided by the best science available, and be underpinned by Labor values of equity and fairness. Our approach will focus on the development of policies that will not only cut pollution, but ensure we maximise the jobs and economic opportunities of modernising our economy.
In contrast, the Liberal and National parties have paid nothing more than lip service to real climate action. Their approach to climate change is best demonstrated not by their rhetoric, but by their inadequate action.
We need to take the experts seriously and take more action to reduce carbon emissions.
But for now, our focus is in dealing with this emergency, supporting our firefighters and providing assistance to affected communities.
If you and your family have been impacted by the bushfires and need more information on the emergency assistance available, information on disaster assistance is available at www.disasterassist.gov.au.
If you and your family have been impacted by the bushfires and need more information on the emergency assistance available, information on disaster assistance is available at www.disasterassist.gov.au or the below contacts.
Those affected can apply for the Emergency Hardship Assistance grant through the Community Recovery Hotline on 1800 173 349 or www.communityrecovery.qld.gov.au.
New South Wales:
For information on personal hardship and distress - contact the Disaster Welfare Assistance Line on 1800 018 444 or visit and www.emergency.nsw.gov.au
Applications for a concessional loan, grant or freight subsidy - contact the NSW Rural Assistance Authority on 1800 678 593 or www.raa.nsw.gov.au
For information of Disaster recovery assistance visit www.sa.gov.au/topics/emergencies-and-safety/recovery/assistance
For information of Disaster recovery assistance visit www.emergency.vic.gov.au/relief/
For information on Emergency Assistance Grants and Recovery and Restoration Grants visit www.alert.tas.gov.au/resources/Pages/DisasterAssistance.aspx
If you would like to make a donation to assist communities affected by bushfires, below are some of the organisations accepting donations to provide much needed support.
- Red Cross – redcross.org.au
- Victorian Bushfire Appeal – vic.gov.au/bushfireappeal
- SA Bushfire Appeal – sa.gov.au/topics/emergencies-and-safety/recovery/donating
- Foodbank – foodbank.org.au
- St Vincent de Paul NSW Bushfire Appeal – donate.vinnies.org.au/appeals-nsw/vinnies-nsw-bushfire-appeal-nsw
Volunteer Fire Services:
- NSW Rural Fire Service – rfs.nsw.gov.au
- Victorian Country Fire Authority – cfa.vic.gov.au
- SA Country Fire Service – cfsfoundation.org.au
- Tasmania Fire Service – fire.tas.gov.au
- Queensland Rural Fire Service – ruralfire.qld.gov.au
- Western Australia Fire and Emergency Services – dfes.wa.gov.au/contactus/pages/donations.aspx
- ACT Emergency Services Agency – esa.act.gov.au
- NT Fire and Rescue Service – pfes.nt.gov.au
- Port Macquarie Koala Hospital – gofundme.com/f/help-thirsty-koalas-devastated-by-recent-fires
- RSPCA NSW Bushfire Appeal – rspcansw.org.au/bushfire-appeal
- NSW Wildlife Information, Rescue and Education Service – wires.org.au/donate/emergency-fund
- Wildlife Victoria Bushfire Appeal – wildlifevictoria.org.au
There have been reports of some dodgy scammers trying to take advantage of people’s generosity. If you are aware of any you can report them to the Bushfire Scam Hotline on 1300 795 995.