Thursday, 29 November 2018
Questions without Notice
Australian Natural Disasters
My question is to the Minister representing the Prime Minister, Senator Cormann. My home state of Queensland is on fire. After record-breaking heatwaves, more than 120 fires, at catastrophic levels unprecedented in Queensland, are wreaking havoc across my state. At the same time, Sydney is flooding and, tragically, three people have now died. Climate science tells us that this is the new normal, and it's going to get even worse. The Prime Minister brandished a lump of coal and said it was nothing to be scared of. Well, I'm scared. How much more of Queensland has to burn and Sydney drown before you take the science seriously and get a climate policy?
We stand with Queenslanders as bushfires continue to burn across the state, threatening homes and communities. Fortunately, there has been no loss of life, but these are, clearly, very difficult and distressing hours and days for Queenslanders. They have our thoughts and prayers, along with the men and women fighting these fires, many of whom have travelled from other states and territories to provide assistance. Our emergency services are, once again, showing their professionalism and dedication in the face of incredibly difficult conditions. We—and I'm sure that I speak for everyone in the Senate—thank all the career and volunteer emergency services personnel fighting these fires.
Queenslanders are known for their resilience in dealing with extreme weather, but these are unprecedented fire conditions for Queensland. The Deepwater bushfire has burnt more than 20,000 hectares, and multiple properties, sheds and assets have been destroyed. I urge everyone to stay aware of their surroundings and follow the advice from local emergency management authorities. Our advice to everyone is to listen to the radio and monitor emergency agency websites and social media channels for information. We echo the request of Queensland authorities and ask that those evacuating their homes move quickly and calmly and do not return home until they are advised it is safe to do so.
These are times when Australians come together, facing up to the challenge in front of us. There is always an appropriate time to have other conversations, and I'm sure that other conversations will take place in the days, weeks and months to come. But today we stand with all Queenslanders who fight these fires. (Time expired)
Your government has approved every single coalmine that has ever passed your desk, including Adani's, and you just refused to rule out taxpayer funding for the latest Galilee Basin coalmine, China Stone. In completely unrelated news, you've taken $2.3 million in donations from resources companies since you formed government! Are you really willing to sacrifice our country for funding to try to keep yourselves in power?
Insurance premiums are already going through the roof in North Queensland, and the insurance industry itself has said that premiums will increase 'massively' as the climate warms. If you won't act on climate change, will you at least agree to bail out the people who will lose their homes because of climate-driven disasters that your government is making worse?