Showing posts with label climate change. Show all posts
Showing posts with label climate change. Show all posts

Wednesday, 29 April 2020

Bushfire Survivors for Climate Action Inc. commences a civil enforcement proceeding in NSW Land and Environment Court to compel the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate greenhouse gas emissions


Bushfire Survivors for Climate Action Incorprated is a group of bushfire survivors, firefighters, local councillors who have joined together to demand the Government take immediate action on climate change.

The group says of itself: "We have come together because we have lost our homes and our communities to bushfires and we want action. We are sick of waiting and we won’t put up with half-measures anymore. The Government can no longer ignore the way their climate change denial is hurting our communities and putting lives at risk. They must take Australia beyond coal projects like Adani and move to 100% renewable energy for all."

On 20 April 2020 Bushfire Survivors for Climate Action Inc. brought a civil enforcement proceeding in the Land and Environment Court to compel the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to regulate greenhouse gas emissions.

The proceedings seek to force the EPA to establish a climate policy, based on its statutory role which includes a requirement to prepare policies to protect the environment. The group will be arguing that the EPA as lead environment regulator in NSW failed to establish such policies in relation to climate change.

The outcome of this case is of particular interest to communities in the NSW Northern Rivers region given the mega wildfires of the 2019-2020 bushfire season and the environmental devastation/property loss/social dsiruption in their wake.

On 27 April 2020 The Daily Examiner reported:

Any notion that climate change is an issue that can be dealt with effectively in some distant future has been shown to be untenable given events of the past few years. 


Extreme weather events, severe droughts and longer and more catastrophic bushfire seasons have shown more people there is a connection between these events and the growing carbon emissions in the Earth’s atmosphere. 

Australians concerned about climate change are becoming increasingly frustrated with the ostrich-like attitudes of many politicians and government agencies. 

One group that is taking legal action in an attempt to force a NSW government agency to do more on climate change is Bushfire Survivors for Climate Action, which is taking the Environmental ­Protection Agency to court ­because of its failure to better protect communities. 

Group president Jo Dodds said all members had experienced a bushfire first-hand. They believed climate change was a major contributing factor to the cause and growing intensity of bushfires in Australia. 

She said the issue wasn’t being taken seriously enough and “there’s a sense that the bushfires are over and we can get back to normal life after COVID-19 – but the fires are going to come harder and more frequently”. 

The Environmental Defenders Office is representing the group. EDO chief executive David Morris said the EPA had “a statutory mandate to protect the environment … but the EPA don’t have a current policy to regulate greenhouse gas emissions”. 

“Those two things can’t coexist,” he said. “We’re simply asking the court to tell the EPA go and create environmental quality objectives with respect to greenhouse gas emissions, regulate the pollution and use their existing powers to do so.” 

According to the EDO, the EPA is in a unique position. As an agency “with teeth”, it has the power to issue licences to control pollution, as well as put caps and prices on substances that are harmful to the environment. 

The case is listed in the NSW Land and Environment Court in Sydney on May 8. 

Leonie Blain, Clarence Valley Conservation Coalition

Tuesday, 10 March 2020

Losses in the 2019-20 NSW bushfires may exceed 70 per cent of the state's entire koala population


ABC News, 7 March 2020: 

Koala losses from recent NSW bushfires 'One of the most significant biodiversity impacts in our history' 

Authorities may have underestimated the extent of the impact of the bushfires on koalas on the North Coast, a New South Wales ecologist has said. 

Stephen Phillips, managing director and principal research scientist at Biolink ecological consultants, has been revisiting six previously-surveyed koala habitats between Forster and Ballina. 

The company was hired by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) to undertake the first on-the-ground surveys in the area since the recent bushfires and is more than halfway through. 

"As part of the broader modelling that we're doing with fire, we're assuming a 70 per cent loss or — 70 per cent mortality rate," Dr Phillips said. "And current information suggests that, based on our field survey work, that the real answer is probably north of that somewhere. 

"So the losses are probably far bigger than what we've been modelling in." They are more than halfway through resurveying the sixth site and Dr Phillips said the story now seems "pretty consistent".

South of Port Macquarie this week they found little evidence of survivors. 

"Part of what we're doing here, we're looking beneath one of the most preferred koala food trees, which is called Tallowwood, and in raking around the bottom of this tree I've picked up a koala scat [faecal pellet]," Dr Phillips said. 

They are, however, still working through the 18 sites at Lake Innes, south of Port Macquarie. 

"One of the good things about this site is that the canopy scorch is mild, so that gives us some hope that there may be some survivors," Dr Phillips said. 

"I guess part of what we're doing now is trying to work out how much of this study area has been impacted and how many survivors there may be, but all evidence indicates its probably not going to be many." 

Area of special significance 

The site in Lake Innes was previously the subject of a successful translocation study

"So finding out what's happened to the population that we established and finding out it's future, whether it's going to survive, whether it's going to become part of a broader recovery program, is also what this is about," Dr Phillips said..... 

Read the full article here.

Sunday, 8 March 2020

The Bushfire and Natural Hazards Cooperative Research Centre to close because the Morrison Government refuses to consider funding it further


In 2015 the Abbott Coalition Government changed guidelines for government-industry-community cooperative research centres.

This change was implemented by the federal Department of Industry and Science.

At the time the 2015/2016 Federal budget planned to cut $26.8 million of CRC funding (over four years).

In spite of the original budget cut less than two years into its existence, the 
Bushfire and Natural Hazards Cooperative Research Centre (BNHCRC) went on to do sterling work in cooperation with federal and state governments, industry, non-government organisations and international bodies.

This was Australian Prime Minister on 7 February 2020 according to the 
BNHCRC website: 


CRC Chair Dr Katherine Woodthorpe, Prime Minister Scott Morrison, CRC Research Director Dr John Bates and Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Karen Andrews.


Prime Minister Scott Morrison invited the Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC to Parliament House to discuss current and future contributions of research to the bushfire response and recovery. 

CRC Chair Dr Katherine Woodthorpe and Acting CEO and Research Director Dr John Bates met with Prime Minister Morrison and the Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Karen Andrews on 5 February to talk about building a bushfire-resilient Australia. 

After the meeting Prime Minister Morrison posted the above picture on his Facebook page, saying: 

“Today Minister Karen Andrews and I also met with the Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC to discuss their important work to assist with the bushfire response and improve preparedness for future fire seasons. We talked about making a more bushfire-resilient Australia and how it can support the proposed Royal Commission.” 

The CRC was invited to discuss how it could support the Royal Commission using its research knowledge and expertise, and through the Inquiries and Reviews database that catalogues over 300 inquiries and reviews of emergencies and disasters caused by natural hazards across all jurisdictions in Australia between 1886 and 2017. The database captures the findings of previous royal commissions and other bushfire inquiries.

What Scott Morrison was well aware of, and most ordinary voters hadn't realised, was that the 2015 change to those guidelines meant that the Bushfire and Natural Hazards Cooperative Research Centre would cease to receive federal government funding as of 30 June 2021 and inevitably will have to close its doors.

On the heels of a devastating 2019-2020 bushfires season, marked by mega wildfires burning across millions of hectares, this Senate Estimates hearing (below) is how the Australian public became widely aware that one of the supports enabling emergency services to fight such fires was being withdrawn.
On 2 January 2020 The Australian reported that the Insurance Council of Australia had urged the federal government to commit to keep funding this key bushfire research organisation.

This call seems to have had no effect on Scott Morrison and his government - it appears that he is still intent on burning Australia back to nothing but bare barren earth.

Thursday, 5 March 2020

The Future Eaters have re-commenced logging in forests affected by the 2019-20 mega bushfires


Styx River State Forest, in the New England Tablelands region of New South Wales, covers 16,000 hectares. 

The Brisbane Times reported on 26 February 2020:

Conservation efforts in NSW to stop more species becoming extinct in the wake of this season's unparalleled bushfires require more than half a billion dollars over the coming four years. 

Emergency intervention to save as many as 30 endangered species alone needs $15 million this year and $35 million in both the 2021-22 and 2022-23 fiscal years, according to a spreadsheet circulating among state government agencies and obtained by the Sun-Herald. 

A burnt area of the Styx River State Forest in northern NSW.Logging has resumed in the area despite most of the region being burnt.
The leaked requests come as Forestry Corporation resumed logging in unburnt refuges in the Styx River State Forest despite risks to species including nationally endangered Hastings River mice.....

While officials wrangle over conservation funding, industrial-scale logging has resumed in fire-hit regions such as the Styx River, inland from Coffs Harbour on the NSW north coast. 

Chris Gambian, chief executive of the Nature Conservation Council, said the logging would have "immensely negative ecological impacts" given so little of the Styx River forest was unburnt. An endangered Hastings River mouse, from a photograph taken in January 2018. 

“The fires mean that whatever we thought before about wildlife and species has to be scrapped and reassessed," Mr Gambian said, adding he had asked the Environment Protection Authority to issue a statewide stop-work order for logging in native forests state until the effects of the fires are known. 

“Logging remnant forests after such a disaster is like sending a demolition crew in to conduct a cyclone recovery operation," he said. "It is hard to imagine a more harmful intervention." 

Mr Gambian noted the government's own analysis indicated at least 32 threatened animal species alone had lost at least 30 per cent of their habitat due to fires, and were now "teetering on the brink".....

A Forestry Corporation spokeswoman said the majority of production crews on the north coast had moved from native forests to hardwood timber plantations after the fires. 

"A small number of selective harvesting operations that commenced prior to the fires have continued under the strict regulations governing native forestry in NSW," she said, adding that crews in the Styx River State Forest were "finalising work in this location" and will move some harvesting operations into fire-affected forests "in the near future".....

Tuesday, 3 March 2020

Sunday, 1 March 2020

Australian Forestry Industry: these future eaters need to be stopped



Australia is the world's smallest continent with a land area of 149,450,000 km2 completely surrounded by ocean.

It is not by accident that the vast majority of its est. 25.6 million strong population live along its fringes - that's where most of the forests and rivers are.



What you see on this map represented approximately 3 per cent of the world’s forests in 2016 and, globally Australia was the country with the seventh largest forest area.

It is estimated that when British-Europeans first came to Australia in 1788, forests covered one-third of the continent - a total of around 49,811,685km2

This had fallen to less than one-fifth or 19 per cent by 2006. At that time more than 16,500 plant and 3,800 animal species had been identified as forest-dependent.

Ten years later Australia​ had only 134 million hectares of forest remaining, covering 17 per cent of its land area. 

In the 228 years between 1788 and 2016 under the policies, legislation and regulations of successive federal, state and territory governments a total of 24,405,185km2 of predominately tall trees had disappeared under the forester's and farmer's axe, never to return.

The eating of Australia's future continues to this day as projections suggest that by 2030, another 3 million hectares of untouched forest will have been bulldozed in eastern Australia.

That's on top of the tree cover lost in the 2019-20 bushfire season when over 5 million hectares of forest and grassland burned - with 100 per cent of tree canopy lost in some areas of the vast firegrounds.

Combined forest burnt in New South Wales and Victoria this fire season has been estimated in one study as 21 per cent of Australia's entire remaining forest cover.

Yet despite what has been lost and the uncertainty surrounding what might regrow due to the continuing stressful heating and drying of the Australian continent caused by climate change, the forestry industry is pushing hard to expand its activities further into state forests, nature reserves and national parks.

The relentless, selfish greed of this industry needs to be called out for what it is - a collective madness.

If you would like to see the federal government and east coast state governments reign in this madness, please express your views to your local state & federal members of parliament and to the following:

The Hon. Scott Morrison MP, Prime Minister of Australia, PO Box 6022 House of Representatives Parliament House, CANBERRA, ACT 2600

The Hon. Sussan Ley MP, Minister for the Environment, PO Box 6022, House of Representatives, Parliament House, CANBERRA, ACT 2600

The Hon. Gladys Berejiklian MP, Premier of New South Wales, 
GPO Box 5341, SYDNEY, NSW 2001 
willoughby@parliament.nsw.gov.au 

The Hon. Matt Kean MP, NSW Minister for Energy and the Environment, 
52 Martin Place, SYDNEY, NSW 2000 
hornsby@parliament.nsw.gov.au 

The Hon Annastacia Palaszczuk MP, Premier of Queensland, 
PO Box 15185, CITY EAST, QLD 4002 
thepremier@premiers.qld.gov.au 

The Hon Leeanne Enoch MP, Minister for the Environment and the Great Barrier Reef, 
GPO Box 5078 BRISBANE, QLD 4001 
environment@ministerial.qld.gov.au 

The Hon. Daniel Andrews MP, Premier of Victoria, 
Office of the Premier, Level 1, 1 Treasury Place, EAST MELBOURNE, Victoria 3002 
daniel.andrews@parliament.vic.gov.au 

The Hon. Lily D'Ambrosio MP, Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change, 
Level 16 8 Nicholson Street, EAST MELBOURNE, Victoria 3002 
lily.dambrosio@parliament.vic.gov.au 

The Hon Peter Gutwein MP, Premier of Tasmania, 
Ground Floor, Public Building, 53 St John Street, LAUNCESTON, Tasmania 7250 peter.gutwein@dpac.tas.gov.au 

Roger Janesh MP, Minister for Environment and Parks, 
GPO Box 44 HOBART, Tasmania 7001 
roger.jaensch@parliament.tas.gov.au

Friday, 28 February 2020

If you have ever wondered how Scott Morrison forms his opinions on everything from climate change & coal mining to taxation & punishing the poor......


Scott John Morrison does not appear to be a man with an abundance of intellectual curiosity, his employment history* is lacklustre with most of positions he held lasting less than 3 years and, his work ethic is not strong given he granted himself three holiday breaks in the first full year of his primeministership.

So to whom (besides the Institute of Public Affairs) does Morrison turn to when he is deciding his policy positions?


A clue might be found here......

 Michael West Media, Hon Scott Morrison MP, excerpt, 2020:


Mining Connections
John Kunkel, the Prime Minister’s Chief of Staff: before his appointment to his current position by Morrison in 2018, Kunkle served as Rio Tinto’s chief advisor for Government Relations, working as a lobbyist for the multinational mining firm. Rio is one of Australia’s top coal miners. Before this Kunkel was Deputy CEO of the Mineral Council of Australia for over six years.

Brendan Pearson, Senior Advisor for International Trade and Investment for the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) 2019 to present. Pearson was the CEO of the MCA from 2014 untl 2017, where BHP Billiton pressured the MCA over Pearson’s radically pro-coal stances and insistance on government-subsidised coal projects.

Lobbying Connections
Former mining lobbyists who now hold key positions within Morrison’s staff include The Prime Minister’s Principal Private Secretary, Yaron Finkelstein, the former CEO of Crosby Textor (now C|T) a multinational lobbying firm with close ties to the Liberal Party and the mining industry. Other C|T alumni include Liberal Party campaign director, Andrew Hirst and his deputy, Isaac Levido, as well as James McGrath, LNP Senator for Queensland and prominent public advocate for Adani’s Carmichael coal mine.

A further pro-mining lobbyist connection is Stephanie Wawn. Wawn is a
senior advisor to Morrison and was previously employed as a manager for CapitalHill Advisory. CapitalHill’s clients included coal miner Glencore and pro-coal think tank, the Menzies Research Centre.

Media Connections
Another way in which the mining lobby exerts influence is via the Prime Minister’s communications team. Many of Morrison’s senior communications team have long-held ties to the Murdoch press. News Corporation is pro-coal and anti climate change.

Positions taken by News Corp staffers in the Prime Minster’s office include Matthew Fynes-Clinton’s role as speech-writer. Fynes-Clinton was former deputy chief of staff and editor of The Courier Mail. Press Secretary, Andrew Carswell, formerly chief of staff at The Daily Telegraph and advisor Thomas Adolph, formerly with The Australian.

NOTES

* Jobs held since 1989:

National Manager, Policy and Research Property Council of Australia 1989-95. 

Deputy Chief Executive, Australian Tourism Task Force 1995-96. 
General Manager, Tourism Council 1996-98. 
Director, NZ Office of Tourism and Sport 1998-2000. 
State Director, Liberal Party (NSW) 2000-04. 
Managing Director, Tourism Australia 2004-06. 
Principal, MSAS Pty Ltd 2006-07.

Member iof the Australian Parliament 2007- present.


Wednesday, 26 February 2020

It appears that almost singlehandedly Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison may have sunk his own government.


"Around 77.8 per cent of the population reported indirect exposure, by having a friend or family member that had property damage; friend/family that had property threatened; had their travel/holiday plans affected; were exposed to the physical effects of smoke; or felt anxious or worried. This equates to around 15.4 million adults." ["Exposure and the impact on attitudes of the 2019-20 Australian Bushfires" 2020]

In January 2020 the ANU Centre for Social Research and Methods and the Social Research Centre collected data from more than three thousand Australian adults from the probability sample ‘Life in Australia’ about their exposure to the bushfires that occurred across the spring and summer of late 2019 and into early 2020. 

Researchers also asked about a range of attitudes towards the environment, institutions, and political issues. 

Data from the January 2020 ANU poll was able to be linked to previous polls at the individual level.

This is the result........

Biddle, N, Edwards, B, Herz, D & Makkai, T, (2020) "Exposure and the impact on attitudes of the 2019-20 Australian Bushfires":

Abstract 

The bushfires that occurred over the 2019/20 Australian spring and summer were unprecedented in scale and wide in their geographic impact. 

Between 20 January and 3 February 2020, the ANU Centre for Social Research and Methods and the Social Research Centre collected data from more than three thousand Australian adults about their exposure to the bushfires, as well as a range of other attitudes and beliefs. 

We estimate that the vast majority of Australians (78.6 per cent) were impacted in one way or another either directly, through their family/friends, or through the physical effects of smoke. 

Furthermore, we estimate that around 2.9 million adult Australians had their property damaged, their property threatened, or had to be evacuated. 

This is the first estimate of self-reported impacts on that scale from a nationally representative, probability-based survey. 

Our survey findings also show that subjective wellbeing amongst the Australian population has declined since the start of spring 2019, people are less satisfied with the direction of the country, and have less confidence in the Federal Government. 

People are more likely, however, to think that the environment and climate change are issues and a potential threat to them, with a significant decline in the proportion of people who support new coal mines. 

By linking individuals through time, we are also able to show that some of these changes are attributable to exposure to the bushfires.

DOCUMENT Exposure_and_impact_on_attitudes_of_the_2019-20_Australian_Bushfires_publication.pdf (PDF685.59 KB):


General satisfaction with life before and after the bushfire season 

In the October 2019 ANUpoll 65.2 per centsaid they were either satisfied or very satisfied with the way the country is heading. By January 2020 this had declined to 59.5 per cent of adult Australians. 

Over the same period, there was a small (but significant) average decline in life satisfaction from 7.05 (on a scale from 0 to 10) to 6.9. 

Levels of confidence in institutions 

Confidence in the federal government declined by 10.9 percentage points from October 2019 to 27.3 per cent by January 2020. 

Confidence in other institutions was quite stable over the period, and higher than for the Federal Government. In January 2020: 

• 48.8 per cent of the population had confidence in the public service (52.1 per cent in October 2019); 

• 73.8 per cent had confidence in the police (75.8 per cent in October 2019); 

• 40.4 per cent had confidence in the State/Territory Government where they lived (not asked in 2019); and 

• 93.0 per cent reported confidence in organisations responsible for firefighting in regional or rural areas (not asked in 2019). 

Voting patterns between October 2019 and January 2020 

The per cent of people who said they would vote for the Coalition if an election was held that day declined from 40.4 per cent in October 2019 to 34.8 per cent in January 2020. 

The largest relative increase (8.8 per cent to 10.5 per cent) was for those who would vote for a party other than the Coalition, Labor, or the Greens. 

Views on party leaders between June 2019 and January 2020 

Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s average rating declined from 5.25 to 3.92 out of 10. 

Leader of the Opposition Anthony Albanese’s average rating increased from 4.87 to 5.04. 

Changes in attitudes towards the environment 

49.7 per cent of people reported aspects of the environment as the most important issue or second most important issue facing Australia in January 2020 compared to 41.5 per cent in October 2019. 

Reporting fires, natural disasters or extreme weather as the most or second most important issue were close to non-existent in October 2019. This increased to 10.2 percent by January 2020. 

Concern about most specific issues increased from 2008 to January 2020, with the greatest increase for: 

• loss of native vegetation or animal species or biodiversity (a 13 percentage point increase); 

• drought and drying (a 9 percentage point increase). 

Support for new coal mines have declined since the May 2019 election. In June 2019 45.3 per cent said yes to the question ‘In your opinion, should the Government allow the opening of news coal mines?’. This had declined to 37.0 per cent in January 2020.

Capital cities versus the rest 

There is majority support by residents in both capital and those living outside of capital cities that global warming is very serious, and that global warming will be a threat to them. These views are more strongly held by capital city residents. 

Only 35.6 per cent of capital and 40.1 per cent of non-capital city residents support new coal mines and there is no statistically significant difference in views between the two. 

Did exposure to the bushfires affect changes in satisfaction, confidence or voting intentions? 

Direct or indirect exposure to bushfires did not statistically affect changes in life satisfaction between October and January. 

Indirect exposure to the bushfires affected levels of confidence in government and satisfaction with the direction of the country. Those exposed reported greater declines in both confidence and satisfaction. 

Although there was no significant direct affect from the bushfires on reporting a change in voting intention, exposure to the bushfires was associated with a significant decline in the likeability of Prime Minister Scott Morrison......

It appears that almost singlehandedly Australian Prime Minister & Liberal MP for Cook Scott John Morrison - aka #ScottyFromMarketing - may have sunk his own government.

Global insurance industry has begun to retreat from regions badly affected by climate change


Almost as soon as federal, state and local governments around the world began to consider what climate change might mean to them, it became obvious the insurance industry had been do the same for some time and had considered its options - at one point expressing a view that residential premises within the coastal fringes might become uninsurable and the land on which these homes were built would be rendered worthless by climate change.

Now QBE is turning that prediction into a reality.......

The Sydney Morning Herald, 17 February 2020:

Global insurance giant QBE has warned climate change poses a material threat to its business and the entire economy as its chief executive Pat Regan said premiums were at risk of becoming too high in areas exposed to repeated, extreme weather. 

QBE has been forced to cut operations in countries where the climate risk is too high and Mr Regan said severe weather means customers in certain [areas] may be priced out of certain types of insurance in Australia and around the world. 

"We got out of places like the Philippines, Thailand, Chile, Puerto Rico [where] it was just too much climate change weather impact risk there that the risks just weren't worth it," Mr Regan said. 

Mr Regan said there had always been parts of the world that were difficult to insure, but as floods and fires become have dominated headlines this summer, this risk was increasing across "swathes of Australia" and could potentially price out customers from home and business property insurance. 

Mr Regan said climate change was a "big topic" in the sector, requiring the insurance giant to "up its game on a number of fronts". QBE boosted its reinsurance program for catastrophic events to $2 billion in a process that would be reassessed each year, Mr Regan said. 

"What that means is you could have a one-in-200-year storm and we'd be protected," Mr Regan said. 

"Whatever your more broad thoughts on climate change are, the evidence is clearly there that the frequency and severity of weather events is increasing over time. 

"The evidence is there for all to see that the amount of weather events globally, not just in Australia, is consistently rising and most of the worst years on record have happened in the last 10 years."  [my yellow highlighting]

ABC News, 3 January 2020:

....the number of “uninsurable” addresses in Australia is projected to double by the turn of the century to nearly 720,000 — or one in 20 — if nothing is done to address escalating risk from extreme weather and climate change. Thousands more will see their insurance premiums double or even triple within decades, the data reveals.....

In Newcastle-Maitland, NSW, the number of uninsurable addresses will rise five-fold by 2100, to nearly one in seven.....

On the Gold Coast, increased risk from flooding and inundation will push the number of uninsurable addresses to 64,000 by 2100 — or one in six. 

In Palm Beach, Broadbeach Waters and Bundall, more than half of addresses are projected to become “uninsurable” by 2100.

Financial Review, 27 October 2019:

Extreme weather has been making strata property in north Queensland very difficult to insure....

Strata insurance is the insurance that covers entire apartment complexes, as opposed to individual houses. As one insurer told The Australian Financial Review, large complexes pose much higher risks than single houses.....

Assessing the risk to these properties is difficult, and a number of insurers have simply stopped trying. Suncorp, one of the big three ASX-listed general insurers, falls into this category. It no longer underwrites complexes with more than 10 units, or an insured value of more than $5 million. QBE, Zurich and the major reinsurers have also pulled out.

Australian Parliamentary Library, Records of the Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry, "Inquiry into climate change and environmental impacts on coastal communities", October 2009:

Climate change is projected to have a major impact on the frequency of extreme weather events, with the coastal zone being particularly vulnerable in this regard because of the combined effects of sea level rise and storm surge/flooding events. 

In its submission to the inquiry, the peak body for the insurance industry, the Insurance Council of Australia (ICA), noted that: 

more than 425,000 Australian addresses are below 4 metres above mean sea level and within 3km of the current shoreline. Within the Greater Sydney region (Newcastle to Wollongong), 46,000 addresses are identified as being within 1km of the shoreline and with elevations less than 3m. 

The ICA further observed that the majority of these vulnerable addresses are located near ocean-connected coastal waters—that is, alongside lakes, river banks and estuaries—and that properties in coastal settlements which are also on inland floodplains ‘can be liable to both river and ocean inundation, often concurrently’. 

Climate change could have adverse impacts on insurance affordability and availability, compounding the problem of under-insurance: 

Around 23 per cent of Australian households (1.8 million) are currently without building or contents insurance. As insurance premiums rise, more households may opt out of insuring, putting an added burden on governments and communities when disasters occur.

Friday, 21 February 2020

A NSW Government independent expert inquiry into the 2019-20 bushfire season providing input to NSW ahead of the next bushfire season is underway - how to make a submission


NSW Government, 3-10 February 2020: 

Dave Owens APM, former Deputy Commissioner of NSW Police, and Professor Mary O’Kane AC, Independent Planning Commission Chair and former NSW Chief Scientist and Engineer, are leading the six-month inquiry, which is reviewing the causes of, preparation for and response to the 2019-20 bushfires. 

Submissions for the NSW Independent Bushfire Inquiry are now open. 

Your response and feedback will help to inform the Inquiry's report...  

Use the online form below to make a submission. You can also provide your feedback by:
The deadline for submissions is 27 March 2020, but this can be extended for those directly impacted by the fires.
Terms of Reference 

The Inquiry is to consider, and report to the Premier on, the following matters. 

1. The causes of, and factors contributing to, the frequency, intensity, timing and location of, bushfires in NSW in the 2019-20 bushfire season, including consideration of any role of weather, drought, climate change, fuel loads and human activity. 

2. The preparation and planning by agencies, government, other entities and the community for bushfires in NSW, including current laws, practices and strategies, and building standards and their application and effect. 

3. Responses to bushfires, particularly measures to control the spread of the fires and to protect life, property and the environment, including: 
  • immediate management, including the issuing ofpublicwarnings 
  • resourcing, coordination and deployment 
  • equipment and communication systems. 

4. Any other matters that the inquiry deems appropriate in relation to bushfires. 

And to make recommendations arising from the Inquiry as considered appropriate, including on: 

5. Preparation and planning for future bushfire threats and risks. 

6. Land use planning and management and building standards, including appropriate clearing and other hazard reduction, zoning, and any appropriate use of indigenous practices. 

7. Appropriate action to adapt to future bushfire risks to communities and ecosystems. 

8. Emergency responses to bushfires, including overall human and capital resourcing. 

9. Coordination and collaboration by the NSW Government with the Australian Government, other state and territory governments and local governments. 

10. Safety of first responders. 

11. Public communication and advice systems and strategies.