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Aussie PM plans inquiry into govt's bush fire response

13 January 2020

Anger spread to Britain, where scores of people gathered in the Strand in central London to denounce Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, branded by one placard as a "fossil fool".

A fearless firefighter died while on duty on Saturday in Australia's state of Victoria, increasing the toll from this season's disastrous bushfires to 28 death losses as the power deploys mental health services to help and assist those in concerned areas. But his plan in wake of the fires doesn't appear to be a dramatic shift toward combating climate change.

The Scott Morrison government has been accused of not taking adequate steps on the issue of climate change.

"I feel very proud to work for an organisation who is willing to stand up and take action on climate change".

Meeting this new expectation could require federal legislation and new agreements with state and territory governments.

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Instead, he reiterated he doesn't want to put jobs at risk or raise taxes to lower emissions, and would rather enhance the country's policies for disaster management and relief, which he believes is just "as much a climate change response as emissions reductions".

The inquiry would also acknowledge, "that the climate we are living in now and will live in for the next ten years... is hotter, drier, longer seasons". "I've got to say to Mr Morrison, that's not my recollection of Black Saturday", Mr Rudd said in a video he posted to Twitter. He also added that these are sensitive environments, there are very emotional environments; prime ministers are also flesh and blood too in how they engage with people.

SBS understands that a difference between both responses was that the Morrison government enforced a compulsory call out where "all reservists selected must endeavour to participate", which required approval from the governor general.

South Australia said yesterday that more than 32,000 livestock animals, mostly sheep, had died in recent fires on Kangaroo Island, while fire services are working to strengthen containment lines ahead of expected worsening weather conditions today.

People across Australia are calling on the government to implement stronger climate measures.

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He has come under criticism for not doing enough at a national level to prepare for the bushfires, starting with his decision to take his family on a holiday to Hawaii. "And nor should the need for national leadership". Scott Morrison has been subjected to public opposition during visits to fire-hit areas in the states of New South Wales and Victoria over the past few weeks.

Meanwhile, the Australian Council of Social Service welcomed the mental health spending but urged the government to boost disaster recovery payments and allowances and review the affordability of insurance. The government is providing A$76 million (S$71 million) in areas including counselling and healthcare consultations.

Evan Harris, who lives in the New South Wales rural village of Burragate, said police and fire crews told him he should leave his cottage because of the threat. The burnt terrain is more than twice the extent of that ravaged by last year's fires in Brazil, California and Indonesia combined.

The Insurance Council of Australia increased to more than A$900 million its estimate of damage claims from the fires, and they are expected to jump further.

He said there was a new normal and Australia needed to adapt to it and build resilience.

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The fires have emitted 400 megatonnes of carbon dioxide and produced harmful pollutants, the European Union's Copernicus monitoring programme said.

Aussie PM plans inquiry into govt's bush fire response