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A New Australian Bushfire and Climate Plan

EMERGENCY LEADERS FOR CLIMATE ACTION (ELCA) has released a new national plan to help protect Australians from an unprecedented era of climate-fuelled bushfires.

The Australian Bushfire and Climate Plan, developed with more than 150 experts and affected community members at the National Bushfire and Climate Summit 2020, outlines 165 recommendations for more effective bushfire readiness, response, and recovery. “Climate change has pushed Australia into a new bushfire era where we must fundamentally rethink how we prepare for and manage this growing threat,” said Climate Councillor and former Fire & Rescue NSW Commissioner Greg Mullins. “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. “First and foremost, the Federal Government must tackle the root cause of climate change by urgently phasing out fossil fuels to reach net zero emissions. We also hope they will be included in the Royal Commission’s final report,” said Mr Mullins. Key recommendations (out of 165 total recommendations)

  1. Better resource fire and land management agencies to manage fuels, and rapidly detect and attack new outbreaks

  2. Add self-sufficient medium and large aerial firefighting capability to Australian fire services

  3. Create an Indigenous-led National Cultural Fire Strategy to complement and inform fuel management by agencies

  4. Establish an independent insurance price monitor so that Australians in disaster-prone areas can insure and be more resilient

  5. Set up a national climate disaster fund to meet climate-fuelled disaster costs and build resilience—paid through a fossil fuel producer levy

  6. Develop and implement a national strategy on climate change, health and well-being

Climate Councillor and public health physician Dr Kate Charlesworth said: “Australia’s summer of fires saw more than 400 deaths and more than 4,000 hospitalisations from bushfire smoke. “The climate-health crisis is affecting Australians now, and is the number one threat to people’s health in the long-term. We urgently need a national climate and health strategy to protect Australians,” said Dr Charlesworth. Since its launch, ELCA’s expertise, experience and authority has cut through the political noise and debate around bushfires in Australia with the clear, evidence-based facts about Australia’s worsening bushfire danger due to climate change, the resourcing and preparation needed to keep Australians safe, and the importance of rapidly and deeply reducing our greenhouse gas emissions.

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