Bushfire survivors deliver remains of family home to Parliament House: “Morrison, your climate crisis destroyed my home”

CANBERRA, 2 December 2019 - Survivors of Australia’s ongoing bushfire emergency have delivered the remains of their family home to Parliament House in Canberra this morning, bearing the message ‘Morrison, your climate crisis destroyed my home’.

Melinda Plesman and her partner Dean Kennedy of Nymboida, NSW, lost their family home of 35 years after bushfires tore through the town south of Grafton on Friday 8 November. 

“This was our family home. We’ve had many wonderful Christmases here, and this is the first year we won’t have that,” said Ms Plesman.

“All of the destruction from these bushfires is related to climate change. At the time that families like mine are losing their homes, according to those in Parliament, we’re not allowed to have a conversation about climate change.”

The devastating early start to Australia’s bushfire season was aggravated by climate change, and preceded by record-breaking drought, very dry fuels and soils, as well as record-breaking heat. [1]

“Prime Minister Scott Morrison has said he’s been praying for us. Families like mine, and indeed this entire country needs a hell of a lot more than prayers right now. What we need is clear climate action and policy, and we need it now, because we haven’t been getting it.”

“Prime Minister Scott Morrison should be leading and walking us down the right path by listening to the scientists, the former fire chiefs, the Australians like me who have lost everything.” 

“We know coal is the leading driver of climate change, we need to move Australia beyond coal and on to solutions like renewable energy that are ready right now.”

Jo Dodds, president of Bushfire Survivors for Climate Action a survivor of the 2018 Tathra bushfires was also on-site supporting Ms Plesman and Mr Kennedy, and said survivors like her were exhausted by the empty rhetoric of the Federal Government. 

“For over 600 days, nobody in the Coalition government has been willing to speak to me, or indeed any other survivors, about climate change. Instead they offer meaningless thoughts and prayers, without taking real action.”

“Now I’m seeing other communities and families go through what my community is still trying to come to terms with. We begged for change and got zero action from state and federal governments. So, again, we demand that the mining and use of coal end, renewables be supported, workers be transitioned from old energy to new jobs, and that Mr Morrison meet with retired fire chiefs and listen to their concerns.” Ms Dodds said. 

[1]https://www.climatecouncil.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/bushfire-briefing-paper_18-november.pdf

Stills and video available:

https://media.greenpeace.org/shoot/27MZIFJ8D3RLO