Page 233 - Week 01 - Thursday, 10 February 2022

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I have spoken a number of times in this place about how we need to prioritise social recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and how we need to work with all of our partners to help our communities get back to normal and how we prepare better for next time. The response to the recent storms will not have been perfect and we are open to learning what went well and what we need to do better next time.

Circumstances such these storms are difficult to cope with for all of us, and people often have to make swift decisions, without all of the facts. I acknowledge the many people who have worked incredibly hard to help affected communities to get back on their feet. This is why I welcome the prospect of an inquiry that focuses on the lessons to learn about coping with the immediate impacts of storms and how we support our communities to recover. It is also crucial that we prepare for a future that will have more severe storms, and more frequently. I look forward to the inquiry and what it can tell us about future preparedness.

MS CLAY (Ginninderra) (11.45): I would like to speak to Mr Milligan’s motion and to Minister Davidson’s amendment. This is a good topic to have brought in here. Those storms in Belconnen were really severe. I live in Macquarie. We actually got off quite lightly—we just lost a few branches—but a lot of people did not get off so lightly. There were houses damaged, there were trees down and there were a lot of people who were frightened and upset. There were people without power for a week. It was a big deal.

The original version of this motion that Mr Milligan tabled was quite strange to me, however—not in describing the impact of the storm but in failing to name the cause of that storm. The motion does not mention climate change. I find that really odd. It would be like talking about the impact on our hospital system, about our hardworking doctors and nurses and about hospital beds filling up without actually mentioning the fact that COVID has put people in hospital. It does not help us to not name the problem. We need to name the problem if we are going to address the problem.

Climate change, unfortunately, is here and climate change means we are going to get a lot more of these storms. It is a really good idea for us to get much better prepared and much better at dealing with them and at supporting people through them. It is not some random natural event. This is caused by climate change. We also need to deal with the root causes of climate change if we are going to cope with this situation.

It is not a difficult link to make—climate change and severe storms. The effects of climate change are extremely well known. I was reminded of this last night when I was reading a book to my daughter as she was going to sleep. We read The Giant and the Sea. It is a lovely book. If you have not read it, you should. It is by Trent Jamieson. It is quite chilling. I had to read her a second book afterwards because it was a little upsetting for her.

In The Giant and the Sea, there is a giant who looks out to sea and watches. And one day the giant says, “The sea is rising.” The giant says this to a little girl and tells the little girl, “You need to go into the city and tell them to turn off their machine because the sea is rising.” The little girl does this and the people in the city do not believe her.

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