Today we have once again witnessed Mr Morrison stall and offer no plan to financially help exhausted volunteer fire fighters.
Even his own senior ministers are finally voicing their concerns.
We are talking about people’s livelihoods.
I have met people who are struggling to make ends meet while they work around the clock to serve their communities.
I have met people that have taken out loans to pay for the basic essentials of life.
It has now been well over a month since I wrote to the Prime Minister asking to work with him to act on this issue.
He dismissed me.
He has repeatedly refused to act on this issue when it has been raised with him.
He has said it was a “distraction.”
He has said it was a “state issue.”
He has said volunteer firefighters “want to be out there.”
Our firefighters have to pay bills and put food on the table for their families.
No firefighter should have to choose between continuing to serve their community with courage and distinction and being able to provide the essentials of life.
There is a precedent for providing support for volunteer firefighters.
This issue was urgent when Labor called on the Prime Minister to act in mid-November. With fires raging across the country and predictions there’s worse to come it is now more urgent than ever.
Mr Morrison has consistently underestimated the scale of this year’s bushfire crisis and has repeatedly asserted that resources are adequate.
So far this bushfire season, the Prime Minister has:
- Refused to meet with ex-fire chiefs, who wanted to warn him about the dangerous conditions we now face
- Rejected concerns about fatigue among our volunteer firefighters, saying “they want to be there”.
- Refused to provide any kind of compensation to exhausted volunteer fire fighters.
- Said there will be no changes to climate change policy.
- Ignored warnings from his own Department of Home Affairs that bushfires in Australia would be worse due to climate change and national action was required
- Dismissed Labor’s suggestion to hold an urgent COAG meeting to ensure Australia was prepared for future bushfires and other natural disasters