'Hopefully they'll wake up in Canberra': Ex-fire chief
A FORMER NSW fire chief has hit out at government inaction in the face of a worsening bushfire crisis but has a message of hope for those affected.
Greg Mullins is one of 23 former emergency services chiefs who wrote to the Prime Minister Scott Morrison, sounding the alarm over the potential for catastrophic weather events as a direct result of climate change.
Over two decades the former Fire and Rescue Commissioner co-ordinated responses to natural disasters and has seen first hand how the climate and environment have changed.
"You can't not notice the huge changes over that time period," he said.
"That's why 22 other fire and emergency chiefs from around Australia joined me in trying to warn the Government and calling for action on climate change."
"We are dooming our grandkids to an almost unliveable planet, that's what the scientific trajectory is and that's what I, as a firefighter and emergency services worker for 47 years, am seeing."
Mr Mullins said scientists had been warning for years rising temperatures would make the landscape more conducive to more intense and more frequent fire activity and said we were seeing that through the current crisis.
"We need urgent action to back up the firefighting efforts and to put more money into helping the states and territories who wear it every year, increasingly," he said.
The growing fire seasons had also affected the way farmers had worked on the land and Mr Mullins said people in areas like the Clarence had conducted their own burns which was now becoming "far more dangerous" because the landscape is "primed to burn."
Mr Mullins admitted he did not have all the answers but wanted to see key stakeholders come together and work out a way forward.
"We are calling for a national dialogue and appealing to the Prime Minister to show some leadership and pull people together," he said.
"We need the farmers, indigenous people, scientists, fire fighters, the military and the insurance council.
"There are so many people with a stake in this and we need them all to get together and nut out what can we do differently."
Mr Mullins wanted those affected by fire in the Clarence Valley to know there were people out there who cared about them and were working hard to make people listen.
"I wish there was more I could do, everyone does because people have been so badly impacted," he said.
"We do understand what is going on and hopefully they will wake up in Canberra so that future generations are less at risk.