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Greens double firefighters to deal with extreme bushfires in a warming world

Media Release
Rachel Siewert 1 Jun 2016

The Australian Greens today announced a $370 million plan to adapt to global warming which includes a commitment to doubling the number of paid firefighters by 2030.  

Greens Deputy Leader and climate change spokesperson, Senator Larissa Waters, said:

“We are the driest inhabited continent on earth and most Australians live near the coast, so the extreme weather caused by global warming, including more frequent catastrophic bushfires and sea-level rise, threatens our very way of life.     

“We must act on global warming by embracing clean energy as quickly as possible, but we’re already feeling severe impacts and we need to prepare and adapt in order to save lives and protect communities,” Senator Waters said.

WA Greens Senator Rachel Siewert, said the federal government only funds about 1 per cent of fire services nationally and needed to step up and contribute in a warming world.

“Earlier this year we saw devastating bushfires that ripped through the southwest, including Yarloop and Harvey. Global warming will continue to increase the frequency and intensity of heatwaves in WA and this is increasing the chances of dangerous bushfires that devastate communities.  

“According to the Climate Council, the number of heatwave days in Perth has increased by 50% since 1950 and nine of Western Australia’s hottest Januarys on record have occurred in the last 10 years. We also know severe fire danger weather is estimated to almost double in the southwest by 2090 if emissions are not reduced.

“We Greens will double the number of paid firefighters by 2030 with an investment of $120 million over 4 years, an immediate doubling of federal funding, which would ramp up further over time.

“We must boost numbers of paid firefighters to share the increasing workload and provide firefighters with the equipment they need in order to do their all-important job of saving lives,” Senator Rachel Siewert said.

Senator Waters said the Greens plan would also fund better natural disaster preparedness with $200 million over 4 years, an immediate fivefold increase on current funding.

“Emergency management experts say that every dollar spent on natural disaster preparedness saves at least two dollars in recovery costs.  

“We would increase federal support to States, Territories and local governments to disaster proof our infrastructure and better support emergency services like the SES to build community resilience to disasters”. 


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