Media Release

11 April 2019

NSW Labor has today called on the Berejiklian Government to heed the warnings of a group emergency services leaders who have sounded an alarm on climate change-fuelled catastrophic weather events such as bushfires and called for an end to cuts to the state’s emergency services and national parks.

Yesterday, former commissioners of state emergency services across country, including the former commissioner of Fire and Rescue NSW, Greg Mullins, called on all state governments to focus on mitigating the effects of climate change while taking “strong action” to reduce state emissions.

In the statement, the former fire chiefs pointed to the fact that bushfire seasons are lasting longer and longer and the number of “very high” to “catastrophic” bushfire danger days each year are increasing across much of Australia, and are projected to get even worse.

They also called for an end to budget cuts to forestry, national parks, and urban and rural fire services.

Interim Labor Leader and Shadow Minister for the Environment, Penny Sharpe, said that the intervention of the former commissioners meant that the NSW Government could no longer deny that man-made climate change is a threat to NSW.

“Climate change is real and the impacts of it can be seen right across the state. The Government needs to get serious about tackling climate change.

“They have failed for eight years to develop a plan to fight climate change but they now have a chance with this new cabinet to put climate change at the centre of decision-making,” Ms Sharpe said.

Labor took a policy of strong action on climate change to the NSW Election in March which included mandating that at least 50 per cent of our state’s energy comes from renewable sources by 2030; and moving NSW as close to as possible 100 per cent energy from renewable sources by 2050.

Currently, NSW only obtains less than 13 per cent of its energy from renewable sources.

Shadow Minister for Energy and Climate Change, Adam Searle, offered his in principle bipartisan support for government action to address the lack of action on emissions and renewable sources in NSW.

“Our fire and rescue teams are the ones risking their lives to keep NSW residents safe. They see the huge impact climate change is having on a daily basis, and I think it’s time the NSW Government started listening to them and takes strong, decisive action” — Adam Searle, Shadow Minister for Energy and Climate Change