Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 8 Hansard (19 August) . . Page.. 2805 ..
MS TUCKER (continuing):
it is very important that we include that in any discussion about fire in this country, because we know that it is having an impact.
A report entitled Global warming contributes to Australia's worst drought warns that high temperature and dry conditions have created greater bushfire danger than previous droughts. Drought severity also has increased in the Murray Darling Basin. The report states that in 2002 Australia recorded its highest ever average March to November daytime maximum temperature, with the temperature across Australia 1.6 degrees centigrade higher than the long-term average and 0.8 degrees centigrade higher than the previous record.
The higher temperatures experienced throughout Australia last year were part of a national warming trend over the past 50 years which cannot be explained by natural climate variability alone. Professor David Karoly, formerly Professor of Meteorology at Monash University, co-authored that report with Dr James Risbey from Monash University's School of Mathematical Sciences. Professor Karoly also said that this is the first drought in Australia where the impact of human-induced global warming can be clearly observed. Dr James Risbey said that although the 2002 drought was related to natural climate variations associated with El Nino, the higher temperatures could not be attributed solely to this factor. So that macro debate also has to occur when we talk about fires.
I notice that federal politicians, and in particular Liberal politicians, focus on the questions of hazard reduction burning that suit their constituency. But they have a responsibility as federal parliamentarians to also address the question of global warming and the impact that has on our climate, and therefore the likelihood of us having to deal with a lot more fires, which is a very sad fact that we are going to have to deal with.
I will talk a bit more about the question of logging, which is also interesting. One scientific paper points out that the high humidity complex in forests is destroyed by high intensity logging, and that mean a mass of tinder-dry fuel results as the forest dries out.
At 5.00 pm, in accordance with standing order 34, the debate was interrupted. The motion for the adjournment of the Assembly having been put and negatived, the debate was resumed.
MS TUCKER: The various aspects of how we are managing land also have to be brought into the discussion.
I think Mrs Dunne just said that Mr McLeod was recommending widespread pre-emptive burning. I don't see that in here, but he certainly does recommend that there be more hazard reduction burns. Of course, that will be looked at by conservationists in the same reasonable way they have looked at hazard reduction burns in the development of the fuel management plans which are agreed to by all stakeholders in the committee that looks at that particular issue.
So I hope once and for all we are not going to hear from the Liberals any more that the Greens and conservationists are against hazard reduction burns. The question is, of