Bushfires

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I hope with all my heart that you and your loved ones are safe.

The events of the last few months have shaken all of us. Whether you or someone you know has lost a home, a livelihood, a loved one or a place that was special to you – words aren't enough to convey how this feels.

We're all feeling a deep sense of sorrow for what people have lost. And sorrow for the abysmal response from the Morrison government at this time of need. Their disregard of our climate and failure to coordinate a fast and decisive response has made this crisis worse than it might have been.

The Morrison Government was warned this would happen – and they did nothing.1, 2, 3 We can never forget that fact.

But what brings us hope are the countless stories of communities coming together to help one another through this crisis.

People around the country have donated hundreds of millions of dollars.4 Local fire services and charities have received countless donations of foods and goods - so many in fact, that they have reached capacity.5 There are stories of volunteer firefighters who lost their homes – and yet kept pulling on their boots each morning to protect the homes of their neighbours.6

While this crisis has revealed the limitations of our leaders, it's also revealed the limitless spirit of mateship, solidarity and community shared by everyday people. And we're going to do everything we can to echo and amplify that spirit.

If you or someone you know has a story you feel comfortable sharing with us, please do. We want to amplify your voices so loud that they cannot be ignored.

Together, we'll keep working to ensure that affected communities have the resources they need to get back on their feet.

And in the coming days we'll be reaching out to emergency service leaders and state governments to assess how we might best mobilise our movement of one million people to help with the task of rebuilding.

But we must do more than recover, and rebuild. We have to hold the government accountable for their failures during this moment of crisis – and push for the investments that will prevent this crisis repeating itself.

If you have thoughts on what's needed to rebuild communities and respond to this crisis – let us know.

What all of us have gone through - and what lies ahead - is incomprehensible.

But for now, stay safe, stay strong. We will get through this as we always have – together.

Yours in determination,

Paul – on behalf of the team at GetUp

P.S. This can be a particularly challenging time for the emotional and mental health of you or people you know. Lifeline is standing by to take your call on 13 11 14 if you or someone you know would like to talk.

References:
[1] Experts warn extreme bushfire weather risk growing, Sydney Morning Herald, 31 December 2019.
[2] How a climate change study from 12 years ago warned of this horror bushfire season, SBS News, 6 January 2020.
[3] Former fire chiefs warn Australia unprepared for escalating climate threat, The Guardian, 9 April 2019.
[4] Celeste Barber's bushfire appeal raises more than $30m for firefighters and victims, ABC News, 6 January 2020.
[5] Charities at capacity: 'The best donation you can give is a monetary one', Illawarra Mercury, 4 January 2020.
[6] RFS NSW Twitter, 5 January 2020.
 
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