NEWS THAT MATTERS

Up to his waist in floodwater

As the flood waters rose down the east coast and homes and lives were lost the country is yet again reminded of Scott Morrison’s abject failure as a prime minister for not spending money that has already been set aside for disaster relief, leaving him up to his waist in floodwater.

Scott Morrison's denial of climate change, and his hoarding of the Emergency Response Fund and refusal to spend the money on disaster mitigation, despite three seasons having passed since it was created after the Black Summer Bushfires, has left him up to waist in floodwater. Morrison has ignored pleas to protect protect property and to keep Australians safe and now, with another flood disaster  from Brisbane and down along the NSW coast, people are demanding answers to his continual failure to act.

4 March 2022

ALAN HAYES

 

SCOTT Morrison’s government has literally sat on its hands, refusing to use the $4 billion set aside in the Emergency Response Fund (ERF). And while Slomo Escargot dithers the ERF has earned the federal government $800 million, a tidy sum that will no doubt find its way into the Liberal Party’s election fund.

 

The ERF was established after the Black Summer Bushfires so that communities across Australia could be well-prepared in advance to cope with natural disasters but all that has been spent is a pitiful $50 million, and none of the projects the Morrison-Joyce Government have committed to have been started. Yet at the time ERF was created, big promises were made that the fund would be out there helping people recover from disasters and put in place those things that were needed to protect people.

 

State Premiers, and emergency response organisations have continually called upon the Morrison-Joyce Government to use the ERF - or at least the interest from it – to make sure that the country was prepared and ahead of the climate disasters. To build flood levees, evacuation centres, and cyclone shelters, or whatever it might be, all around Australia but Slomo Escargot remains focused on one thing only – himself. The absence of disaster preparation has left communities far more vulnerable than they need to be.

 

Let’s be realistic, building resilience in communities ahead of a major disaster is good use of taxpayer money. Unfortunately, this hasn’t been happening. The ERF keeps gathering interest and communities are more exposed than they need to be.

 

Just like around the rest of the country, closer to home on the Central Coast community leaders have also been begging for flood, bad weather and bushfire mitigation but Scott Morrison ignores their pleas. Unless it’s a photo opportunity or another dodgy announcement, Scott Morrison isn’t interested. And what of Federal Member for Robertson, Lucy Wicks? Is she standing up for the Central Coast community demanding that her government spend the ERF on local disaster mitigation projects? NO! Not a word, not even a whisper.

 

The government’s tardiness toward implementing the ERF is shameful, and while Slomo Escargot strums another ukulele tune people’s lives are being shattered. People in Brisbane, the NSW eastern seaboard, including the Central Coast, are having to deal with the impact of severe rainfall and flooding, while Morrison and Joyce still deny that climate change is causing ever-increasing harsh weather conditions – climate change induced crisis that is all too regular and all too common.

 

And while Morrison and Joyce continue to deny the reality of climate change, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), who has been warning for decades about the impacts of dangerous climate change, released its report last Wednesday (2 March 2022).

 

Yet what have we seen so far from Scott Morrison. An abysmal performance, or more appropriate lack of performance, at COP26 in Glasgow, waving around a half-hearted pamphlet and trying to convince the world that his government’s commitment to reducing carbon emissions was genuine – relying on future technology that doesn’t exist but will hopefully be dreamed up and come to fruition.

 

Australia was the laughingstock of the developed committed nations to climate change - the United Kingdom, Canada, USA, et al.

 

The IPCC has been telling the world and particularly political leaders that we must act, and Wednesday was yet another stark warning. But it was a stark warning that is particularly relevant to Australians. This report itself highlights some of the impacts on Australians and on Australia, which are at the same time, completely unsurprising and totally shocking in terms of the impact on Australians and the Australian way of life.

 

The IPCC says, for example, that there'll be more hot days and fewer colder days in Australia. This will be problematic, especially when already so many Australians suffer and die in heat waves, and the severe hot weather will only get worse.

 

The report also highlighted the loss and degradation of Australia's coral reefs and associated biodiversity, yet again, the Federal Government seems to think that simply managing the decline of the reef by spending money on it is some sort of answer - refusing to take real action on climate change.

 

The IPCC points out that there will be “disruption and decline in agricultural production and increased stress in rural communities in south-west, south east and eastern mainland Australia, due to hot hotter and drier conditions”. Yet Slomo Escargot’s Government maintains that action on climate change is some sort of inner city obsession.

 

Scott Morrison says (climate change) “it's a matter for inner city wine bars”, and “that it is a betrayal of regional Australia and a betrayal of rural Australia”.

 

It is the farmers, it is the people who live in rural and regional Australia who will pay the price of climate change, and who will pay the price of a warming environment where their land becomes less productive.

 

The IPCC Report also said that there will be “increases in heat related mortality and morbidity for people and wildlife in Australia due to heat waves”.

 

People have already suffered too much from heat waves, particularly in the less affluent suburbs of Australia where they can't afford air conditioning and the intolerable hot weather will simply get worse.

 

The IPCC Report concludes, with a high degree of confidence, that there will be “cascading, compounding and aggregate impacts on cities, settlements, infrastructure supply chains and services due to wildfires, floods, droughts, heat waves, storms, and sea level rises”.

 

Australia is the developed country with the most at stake. We are the developed country that is most subject to natural disasters, whatever form those natural disasters take. And we are the country with the most to gain from the economic opportunities of action on climate change.

 

The world's climate emergency is Australia's jobs opportunity but the world's climate emergency is also a great threat to the ability of Australians to go about their normal way of life, free of the interference of heat waves or other natural disasters.

 

Australians desperately need a federal government that understands the importance of acting on climate change – not dreaming about yet-to-be-invented future technology as the answer. Australians need a federal government that knows that it must act and act urgently. A federal government that can have not only a commitment to zero by 2050, which is the bare minimum of action required, but real and meaningful targets for 2030 and real and meaningful policies to achieve it.

 

But what does Australia have? A coalition government that are climate change deniers’, a coalition government that is in love with burning more and more fossil fuel, and a coalition government that refuses to implement strategies to protect Australians from a quickly changing climate future. And a prime minister who refuses to listen and believes that non-secular governance is the answer to Australia’s future.

 

The IPCC said that climate change impacts in Australia will leave many parts on the country inhabitable because of severe temperature and no rainfall, while the eastern seaboard will be so wet food production will be difficult.

 

The effects of climate change are on our doorstep right now and impacting on Australian lives. It’s time to invest in disaster mitigation to reduce the risk of properties flooding and burning down, and to help keep insurance premiums under control as well, and it’s time to invest in every Australians future.

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