Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 03 Hansard (Thursday, 22 March 2018) . . Page.. 996 ..
Legacy team. I also recognise all the wonderful finalists who have made great contributions to older Canberrans.
The fabulous success of Seniors Week has been due to the tireless efforts of the organisers, COTA ACT, who have been looking after the needs of older people in the ACT since 1973. I thank the board of COTA ACT, President Ewan Brown, Sue Jordan, Elizabeth Grant, Bruce Shaw, Paul Feldman, Rick Lord, Fergus Thomson and COTA ACT’s CEO, Jenny Mobbs. I thank all of the sponsors of this year’s Seniors Week and acknowledge the hardworking staff of COTA ACT.
MS LE COUTEUR (Murrumbidgee) (4.57): As we are all sadly aware, the small community of Tathra on the south coast suffered a devastating bushfire earlier this week. Homes and livestock were completely destroyed. I know that many of us frequently visit this beautiful part of the south coast and are welcomed by a strong and vibrant community. I speak on behalf of not just the Greens but all Canberrans in sending our thoughts to the people of Tathra at this challenging time.
The ACT, along with countless other communities across Australia, has also been the victim of catastrophic bushfires over the years. The bushfire in Tathra is yet another example of the impacts of climate change. The impacts of climate change and, in particular, the long-term trend towards a warmer climate here in Canberra and across the country are making days hotter and heatwaves longer and more frequent. The warnings from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the Climate Council and many others are coming with increasing certainty that it will only get hotter and drier over the coming months. The subsequent increased risk of bushfires in Canberra and across the whole of south-east Australia is a major concern.
Climate change is already increasing the risk of bushfires in New South Wales and the ACT. The 2015-16 summer was Australia’s sixth hottest on record and, in the ACT, the mean maximum temperature was 1.9 degrees Centigrade above the average. We also know that in the ACT the fire season is starting earlier and lasting longer and we are now seeing dangerous fire weather extending into spring and autumn. Hot and dry conditions are driving up the likelihood of dangerous fire weather and we must be prepared for the associated risks.
This is why, here in the ACT and nationally, governments must try to cut emissions rapidly and deeply to join global efforts to stabilise the world’s climate and to reduce the number of extreme weather events, including bushfires. There is a direct link to climate change increasing the frequency and severity of bushfires in Australia. The Greens are incredibly disappointed in our Prime Minister for completely ignoring that link, and in fact disputing it and continuing to refuse to take adequate action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The need to take action on climate is now internationally and locally more urgent than ever. Many members would have seen on the news two nights ago that the largest glacier ever is now free floating on the ocean, and when it melts it is likely to raise sea levels by three metres. This is far higher than previously expected and will have