House debates

Thursday, 13 February 2020

Statements by Members

Australian Bushfires

1:33 pm

Photo of Libby CokerLibby Coker (Corangamite, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

The coalition's response to the bushfires has been to focus on fuel reduction as the key cause of the fires. It is important to reduce fuel loads as a precautionary measure, especially around settlements. However, fire experts have dismissed assertions that a lack of fuel reduction is the main cause of the recent fires. Fire chiefs have confirmed that there was little or no difference in the fire intensity between areas subject to fuel reduction and those areas without managed burns. And while we can reduce fuel in limited areas, we can't burn the whole nation. The risk to our health and our environment is just too great, and the window for safe burns is reducing.

Adapting to climate change isn't enough. My constituents have called for stronger action on climate change because that is the root cause of the increased intensity and duration of bushfires. The coalition boasts Australia will meet its emission reduction targets and Paris commitment to keep warming well under two degrees—nothing could be further from the truth. The coalition's emissions target of 26 to 28 per cent by 2030 is totally inadequate. The UN says we need to meet zero emissions by 2050 and a 45 per cent reduction by 2030. Over 70 countries have committed to those higher targets. We don't lead the world; we are a drag on the world. Business as usual is just not an option.