Australian PM proposes national review into bushfire response

13 Janvier, 2020, 03:40 | Auteur: Therese Cote
  • Wildfires rage under plumes of smoke in Bairnsdale Australia

Prime Minister Scott Morrison says Australia must prepare for "a new normal" with more severe bushfires, floods, cyclones and drought, as he vows to take a royal commission into the bushfire crisis to Cabinet.

The tragedy claimed at least 27 lives in a crisis that has seen more than 2,000 homes destroyed and scorched in an area larger than the state of in since September. The crisis is becoming increasingly political as the country looks at the causes and the government's response.

In an interview, the Australian PM said that there is obviously a need for a national review of the bushfire response.

He said Morrison said the fires had made his government "think a little harder" to give comfort and consolation to the victims.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison speaks during a press conference at Parliament House in Canberra, January 5, 2020.

The inquiry would also acknowledge, "that the climate we are living in now and will live in for the next ten years... is hotter, drier, longer seasons". Authorities said Sunday that the Gospers Mountain fire had finally been contained, but that the risk of more fires remained high. According to Time magazine, about 30% of the forest in New South Wales is burnt.

A wallaby eats a carrot after NSW's National Parks and Wildlife Service staff air-dropped them in wildfire-stricken areas around Wollemi and Yengo National Parks, New South Wales, Australia, on January 11, 2020.

"Our party room has a broad range of views", Morrison said of those within government ranks who reject mainstream climate science.

"In the years ahead, we are going to continue to evolve our policy in this area to reduce emissions even further and we are going to do it without a carbon tax, without putting up electricity prices and without shutting down traditional industries", he told public broadcaster ABC. According to worldwide media, he said that there are things he could have handled better on the ground.

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"Prime ministers are flesh and blood too in how they engage with these people".

Camera IconMr Morrison said the scale of the bushfires was "unprecedented" and had created a situation in which Australians were demanding a greater response from the federal government.

Meeting this new expectation could require federal legislation and new agreements with state and territory governments.

Labor leader Anthony Albanese said the bushfires clearly required national leadership.

He also repeatedly stated that Australia was doing more than enough to meet its emission reduction targets, prompting a series of large-scale street protests.

About 100 firefighters from the United States and Canada are helping, with 140 more expected in coming weeks.

The government said on Sunday more mental health support services will be provided to firefighters, emergency personnel, individuals and communities. The government is providing A$76 million (S$71 million) in areas including counselling and healthcare consultations.

"Within 24 hours of those fires erupting, Premier Brumby of Victoria and I had agreed that the Victorian emergency services and the Australian Defence Force would work together like that in responding to the crisis and on top of that the federal Department of Human Services was to work like that with the Victorian agencies in providing emergency relief to affected families". At least 28 people have died due to this fire. Thousands of protesters rallied late Friday in Sydney and Melbourne, calling for Morrison to be fired and for Australia to take tougher action on global warming.

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