Bushfires In Australia A ‘Wake-Up Call’ For Abbott Government To Commit To Climate Action Article

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Bushfires In Australia A ‘Wake-Up Call’ For Abbott Government To Commit To Climate Action



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By Reissa Su | January 6, 2015 10:03 AM EST

The bushfires in South Australia and Victoria were described as the products of the government’s failure to address climate change. Australia Greens leader Christine Milne said the fires should be a wake-up call for the Abbott government to recognise the costs of global warming.
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REUTERS/Country Fire Authority
A helicopter dumps water on a bushfire burning near houses in the Grampians bushland in the southeastern Australian state of Victoria, about 300 km (186 miles) west of Melbourne, January 17, 2014. REUTERS/Country Fire Authority (CFA)/Handout via Reuters

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As firefighters continue to contain the fires raging in the two states, dozens of homes were lost to the blaze. Milne warned that Australia is going to suffer the same extreme weather events. She said that the Abbott government must stop its climate change “denial” and get on with creating a plan in the face of extreme weather, ABC News reported.

Milne said the government should look at the “suffering” of the people and commit to strong climate action. She recommended a number of actions in preparation for extreme heat, including the evaluation of current emergency services, increase in the number of firefighters and improvement in emergency response.

Meanwhile, Minister for Justice Michael Keenan said that the Abbott government will need to hold talks with the state government to review how funds were spent before disasters happen. The federal government has indicated it wants to reduce spending on natural disaster recovery to focus on mitigating the risks before a catastrophic event strikes.

Keenan and his South Australian counterpart Zoe Bettison have announced emergency grants of up to $280 per adult and $140 per child, The Guardian reported. The funds would be available for people affected by the bushfire in Sampson Flat to cover necessities like food and clothing.

Firefighters are currently racing to contain a major bushfire before the weather will worsen the blaze. According to BBC News, more than 30 homes were feared destroyed behind the city of Adelaide. More than 500 firefighters have been monitoring the fires that have been burning since Jan 2. Fire authorities have declared that the bushfire was the worst in the area since the huge blaze in 1983, which left 75 people dead.

Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology has predicted that temperatures will hit 34 degrees Celsius in Adelaide before reaching as high as 38C on Jan 7. South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill said the region is not yet safe from bushfires. He added that firefighters are trying to ensure the fire is contained before hotter conditions can spread it. He warned residents in South Australia to prepare for more severe bushfires.

Contact email: r.su@IBTimes.com.au

To contact the editor, e-mail: editor@ibtimes.com

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