Floods once again show Australia needs much more prevention and climate action


New South Wales is experiencing its fourth major flooding event in 18 months. Everyone should now see that climate change driven new climate patterns have become the new reality. One would think that Australia would act decisively to be better prepared to meet the challenges that this brings.

This is not happening. Australia remains woefully unprepared, and once again, the prime minister is absent overseas when 50,000 Australians are facing the consequences of climate change.

That responsible federal ministers have begun to talk the talk is a positive contrast to the Morrison years. The nest step is to walk the walk. There is not enough of this yet, and it starts with the prime Minister. Australia needs political leadership to unite the nation to do a better job than in the past.

First, Anthony Albanese should cut his trip and fly home immediately, take charge, front up in New South Wales, and deliver the support and help needed by the flood’s victims. This would rally Australia behind him. And it is high time to get serious about action on climate change.

Photo from 9 News: Waiting for rescue

The immediate human cost must be alleviated. We don’t want a repeat of the treatment experienced by fire victims three years ago. They were left high and dry. The treatment of those who suffered in the previous floods has been little better. This must change.

Immediate relief and help with rebuilding are important. Much better planning on where and how future buildings are constructed are needed to help lessen the damage. In the longer-run, preventive measures, and community capacity to deal with extreme weather challengers are even more important. This means having the infrastructure for a more rapid response and built-in measures to limit the damage from water or fire.

It may not be easy to do all this, but it is necessary.

Australia’s emissions are unfortunately still climbing, and weather disasters are becoming more frequent and intense.

The Royal Commission into national disasters produced 80 recommendations for urgent attention. On top of the list was a big increase in spending for preparedness and resilience building. What is being invested in this now is a joke. Only 3 percent of disaster spending is devoted to these needs.

Experts are predicting a high likelihood of further flooding later this year.

The 2018 State of the Climate report by the CSIRO and the Bureau of Meteorology predicted that for “for heavy rain days, total rainfall is expected to increase by around 7 percent per degree of warming.”

There is no way of getting around the fact that the ultimate solution can only be to limit the extent of climate change through far more ambitious action, and for Australia to become a champion for international cooperation on this critical issue.

Too many years have been wasted on inaction and it is time to change this.

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