Farmers and firefighters have backed a Greens push for Prime Minister Scott Morrison to declare a climate emergency after recent bushfires ravaged two states in an early start to the bushfire season.
Federal politicians returning to Canberra for the final parliamentary fortnight of the year were greeted by climate activists, including federal Greens climate change spokesperson Adam Bandt.
United Firefighters Union national president Greg McConville told the rally firefighters are facing increasingly difficult conditions because of environmental changes.
“These problems are real, the threat of climate change to bushfire risk is huge, the resource implications are huge,” he said on Monday.
“The need to act on climate change has never been greater.
“There are no climate sceptics on the end of a fire hose.”
Mr Bandt fronted the rally to reiterate his party’s calls for a climate emergency to be declared.
He has already clashed with Nationals Leader and Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack over the fires, partly blaming the government’s inaction on climate change for the hundreds of properties that have been lost.
Mr McCormack dismissed his comments as the concerns of “raving inner city lunatics”.
But Martin Royds, a farmer from the NSW town of Braidwood said while he’s been “a part of the problem” in the past, he recognises the importance of sustainable farming.
Mr Royds called for others in the industry to adopt “regenerative” farming practices.
“We’re all involved in this, we’re all enjoying the pleasures of having the modern life that we like to enjoy and to do that we’re burning coal, we’re heating up the climate,” he said.
“There are solutions and we can change, and we can end up with water and less fire.”
Four people died in NSW, while more than 600 homes have been destroyed in devastating blazes across NSW and Queensland in recent weeks, with dozens of fires continuing to burn.
The Insurance Council of Australia said last week damage claims from two weeks of intense bushfires in both states had hit $145 million and were expected to rise.