The Federal Government's $450 million funding for the Regional Bushfire Recovery and Development Program is a welcome step for bushfire affected communities, but must focus on climate resilience projects to be truly effective, says Farmers for Climate Action.
"Climate change is a threat we can't afford to ignore, and is exacerbating drought impacts as well as increasing bushfire danger," said Peter Holding, a farmer and volunteer firefighter.
"One of the key reasons why this summer's bushfires were unprecedented in their scale and destruction was that years of drought had made the land tinder-dry. Any recovery measures we implement now must have climate solutions and resilience measures baked in.
"This funding is an opportunity for us to start doing the long-term thinking about what it means to live in a bushfire prone region of Australia and how to build climate resilience into the recovery.
"Projects like wind and solar-powered micro-grids are measures that shore up community resilience while reducing the threat of climate change. They also boost the local regional economy. Such initiatives should be a priority for receiving support.
"This is also the perfect time to set up a Regional Resilience Hub network, which would create employment in rural areas and facilitate regional community access to government initiatives and would work with communities to enhance resilience and facilitate multi regional learning opportunities," said Mr Holding.
Farmers for Climate Action is currently running a series of Community Resilience Forums, focussing on climate change, drought and bushfire. These forums will explore how to build climate resilience into our communities so we are better able to face natural disasters and bushfires as they occur.