The Australian Greens support hazard reduction burns and backburning to reduce the impact of bushfires when guided by the best scientific, ecological and emergency service expertise.
Attempts by Liberal and National politicians to place the blame on the Greens represent the worst kind of dishonest politics. The Coalition has spent six years in office ignoring the main cause of these unprecedented bushfires – severe climate change.
Climate change has left forests and grasslands drier, which means the bushfire season has started earlier and will likely last longer. Higher temperatures and drier conditions have made the window for hazard reduction shorter.
The major cause of climate change that has led to these bushfires and extreme dry conditions around the country is the mining, burning and exporting of coal, oil and gas.
Governments at all levels should be co-designing and consulting with First Nations peoples when making decisions about land management and the environment.
The NPWS Act, LLS Act and RFS Act should be amended to strengthen cultural burn practices in NSW. This would legitamise First Nations cultural practices as well as:
1. Secure insurance for Indigenous burns
2. Better manage land across different tenures
3. Appropriately fund cultural burns and equipment
4. Build capacity and educational resources
5. Allow cultural burning on private lands
6. Accredit cultural burns practitioners
Amended legislation is required with direction from the highest levels of government. Hazard reduction burns are dangerous and can take lives if land managers, who are responsible for what happens on their land under NSW legislation, don’t adhere to NPWS cultural burns policy for instance. We need trained professional cultural burning teams that collaborate closely with the land owner that can also cross tenures. We need pilot testing of cultural burn practices to guarantee effective use of fire.
Properly Fund National Parks
The NSW National Parks & Wildlife Service need to be fully funded, and in particular, an increase in area managers who are confident fire managers. When fires happen you need all hands on deck and a lack of area managers
has a negative effect on fighting fires. Staff from other departments should not have to be recruited with no training or prior skills or experience in bushfire fighting. The budget for NPWS does not meet the needs
of Parks when salaries only rise 2.5% each year. The LNP budget structure does not support staff wage increases. Further, salary savings from the recent restructure does not meet the required staffing levels to fight fires.
Government wants to save money by cutting staffing that weakens NPWS’s effort to fight fires.
We need more people on the ground who are trained and specialists in fire management and the Enhanced Bushfire Management Program fully funded!
Fire fighting levy Legislation
Financial contributions to the fantastic state fire fighting services NSW Fire & Rescue and NSW Rural Fire Service comes from home insurance. In Victoria its tied to the rates, but in NSW its tied to home insurance. Everyone’s property should be protected when fighting fires and as a community, we should all share in funding better fire services. The LNP have made attempts in the past but legislation failed to materialise in 2017 from pressure by city Liberals at the last minute. Making sure every property owner is paying a levy towards fire fighting makes sense because air quality from severe bushfires affects city liberals too. We are calling on the government to levy all property owners to make sure our fire services are funded effectively.
REDUCE BUSHFIRE RISK
“Coffs Harbour experienced some of the worst bushfires in our region. The cause of these fires is complex and involves climate change. The Greens support hazard reduction burning and cultural burns”.