Mayors make climate change demand to govt

The link between climate change and Australia's worsening bushfires can't be ignored, mayors say.
The link between climate change and Australia's worsening bushfires can't be ignored, mayors say.

Mayors from Australia's bushfire-ravaged regions are begging the federal government to put people ahead of profit and acknowledge the role of climate change in the disaster.

Mayors from 12 councils, including the fire-affected Bellingen, Mid-Coast and Noosa regions, have signed a statement urging the government to stop ignoring climate change and boost funding to frontline services.

"The fires this week in Australia have placed hundreds of thousands of people in great danger," Friday's statement begins.

"The catastrophic conditions for these fires were, at least in part, fuelled by climate change."

The mayors point out that Queensland experienced catastrophic fire conditions for the first time last year and Sydney did so for the first time this week.

Fire seasons are starting earlier and lasting longer, they say.

"Now, it is time to honestly and bravely address one of the major causes of these fires, climate change.

"Now we need to significantly increase funding to frontline services.

"Now we need to place the welfare and safety of citizens ahead of profit, and to support those companies offering real solutions."

The plea comes a day after former Australian fire chiefs urged the federal government to declare a climate emergency.

Former Fire and Rescue NSW commissioner Greg Mullins told a joint press conference Australians were in a "new age of unprecedented bushfire danger".

"We'd like to see Labor, the coalition government, Greens and the crossbenchers all come together and declare a climate emergency," he told reporters in Sydney on Thursday.

Four people have died and more than 300 homes have been destroyed in NSW, while homes have also been lost in bushfires raging in Queensland.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison urged politicians on Wednesday to end the bickering over the link between climate change and natural disasters, saying there would be time later to debate "controversial issues".

Australian Associated Press