The Australian Greens today announced a $370 million plan to adapt to global warming which includes a commitment to doubling the number of paid firefighters by 2030.
In Sydney, with Grayndler Candidate and professional firefighter, Jim Casey, Greens Deputy and climate change spokesperson, Senator Larissa Waters, said:
“We are the driest inhabited continent on earth and most Australians live near the coast, so the extreme weather caused by global warming, including more frequent catastrophic bushfires and sea-level rise, threatens our very way of life.
“We must act on global warming by embracing clean energy as quickly as possible, but we’re already feeling severe impacts and we need to prepare and adapt in order to save lives and protect communities,” Senator Waters said.
Greens Candidate for Grayndler and firefighter, Jim Casey, said the federal government only funds about 1 per cent of fire services nationally and needed to step up and contribute in a warming world.
“Global warming is already driving devastating and sometimes fatal bushfires across Australia. We must act now to save lives from increasing bushfires in a warming world.
“We Greens will double the number of paid firefighters by 2030 with an investment of $120 million over 4 years, an immediate doubling of federal funding, which would ramp up further over time.
“Firefighters are feeling the pressure with bushfires intensifying dramatically due to global warming.
“We must boost numbers of paid firefighters to share the increasing workload and provide firefighters with the equipment they need in order to do their all-important job of saving lives,” Mr Casey said.
Senator Waters said the Greens plan would also fund better natural disaster preparedness with $200 million over 4 years, an immediate fivefold increase on current funding.
“Emergency management experts say that every dollar spent on natural disaster preparedness saves at least two dollars in recovery costs.
“We would increase federal support to States, Territories and local governments to disaster proof our infrastructure and better support emergency services like the SES to build community resilience to disasters.
“Our plan also allocates $5 million per year to support state and local governments to plan for already inevitable sea-level rise.
“Instead of cutting funding completely from July 2017 for the National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility like the Turnbull Government, we will triple funding for this important research to $10 million per year.
“We will pay for these crucial plans by making big polluters pay for the damage they cause using a thermal coal export levy of $3 per tonne to, which would raise $650 million a year, which would also help fund the transition to clean energy and climate finance for developing nations,” Senator Waters said.