So far, in NSW, more than 280,000 hectares of land have been burnt and many still burning.
1,000 homes have been damaged or totally destroyed.
At most recent count there are 94 fires raging in NSW alone.
There are serious fires in several parts of Queensland —some out of control.
The country is swathed in smoke and people are finding it hard to breathe.
Our Prime Minister has not been seen near any fires or fire brigade headquarters. He has had nothing to say.
I guess he’s been busy…
To wit: “Morrison took an airforce 737 airliner from Canberra to Sydney last night for the sole purpose of attending drinks with the Murdochs & then returned on it this morning - while refusing requests from firefighters to fund aerial firefighting capabilities.” * (Thanks to Mark Dando on Twitter).
He did manage to appear on TV news, though.
Was he announcing some help for the fire fighters? No.
Was our generous (?) PM announcing funds to help devastated families who have lost their homes and properties? No.
Was there an announcement of an inquiry concerning - or planning -any future mitigation of bushfire risk? No.
Was he apologising for decreasing fire services funding? No
Was he acknowledging (finally) that we have a climate emergency? No.
Was he even sending ‘thoughts and prayers’ (as is his wont)? No, not even that.
His media appearance was to make an announcement that our airports are about to have—wait for it--
a “$107 million package for a new highly-trained anti-terrorism squad”. They will be “armed with Mk18 Short-Barrel Rifles and body cameras to rapidly detect terrorists, undertake behavioural assessments and scope out the airports.”
This proposal is to give “people a great sense of reassurance. They are there to protect the public and the travelling public."
It’s nothing but an expensive & very intimidating look. But…
Have we ever had a terrorist threat at an airport in Australia? NO.
Have we ever had a safety issue with deadly firestorms endangering lives, homes and the environment? YES.
Is our government offering extra help and support to any Fire services? NO.
The need for assistance is so great that a ‘GoFundMe’ page has been set up to raise funds to help the NSW Rural Fire Service. (They were aiming at receiving $10,000 and I am happy to say that, so far $12,000 has been forthcoming. So, it seems that the generous general public at least appreciates what is being done).
And get this: A lot of this desperately sought money is needed to merely feed volunteer firefighters!
(The Red Cross and Salvos are doing a mighty job but are running out of food and volunteers).
Meanwhile in Queensland, Brisbane ABC tv/radio put on a variety concert on Friday to raise money for the 1400 Rural Fire Brigades in Queensland that have been toiling in dangerous conditions and extreme temperatures to keep people and their homes safe. They were hoping to raise $200,000. (Nearly there, at last count).
We have to beg for money for the heroic fire fighters!
It’s a sad state of affairs; tragic, in fact. To have under-resourced fire brigades in this time of tragedy and trauma is shameful.
Extreme weather conditions are now the ‘new normal’.
Climate scientists/experts are bewildered at the government’s inaction.
The awful sight of gun-toting security at airports is not going to solve the fear that is being felt in our nation.
Our population’s real fear is the fact that Climate Change is producing uncontrollable infernos that we are now witnessing.
It’s not just that there has been little acknowledgement of the devastating fires from ‘our leader’ but it’s the incredible inaction and ignoring of the drastic and deadly Climate Change reality that is oh, so obviously contributing to the disaster.
The NSW Rural fire service has been quoted as saying they are ‘at breaking point’.
Where’s the PM?
‘In July of 64 A.D., a great fire ravaged Rome for six days, destroying 70 percent of the city and leaving half its population homeless. According to a well-known expression, Rome’s emperor at the time, the decadent and unpopular Nero, “fiddled while Rome burned.” The expression has a double meaning: Not only did Nero play music while his people suffered, but he was an ineffectual leader in a time of crisis’.
Remind you of anyone?
* This is so outrageous that I am still trying to confirm that it is true. (Canberra to Sydney is a 3-hour drive).