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Remembering the Devastation of 1967, Learning Lessons for the Future

7 Feb 2017

Cassy O'Connor MP | Greens' Leader and Climate Change spokesperson

Tasmanians are coming together as a community today to mark the devastation and tragedy of the 1967 bushfires. 

Today is a day for reflection, remembrance and a steely determination to never again let fire claim such a heartbreaking toll on our community.

One of the great lessons out of the '67 fires is the resilience of Tasmanians and our strength of community in times of crisis.  We saw that 50 years ago when people risked everything to save the lives and homes of their neighbours and strangers alike.

We saw it again during the January 2016 bushfires, and the floods that wreaked havoc on rural and regional communities last June.  All Tasmanians are deeply thankful for the tireless efforts of Tasmania's professional and volunteer emergency workers and those who came from interstate and overseas to help out.

As we remember the horror of 7 February 1967 and honour the 64 Tasmanians who lost their lives, we must also be mindful of the fact that accelerating climate change will increase the frequency and intensity of bushfires in the future.

We must be better prepared for this reality and appropriately resource the Tasmania Fire Service, SES, DPIPWE and volunteer brigades to strengthen the State's resilience to bushfires.

The work these agencies and volunteer fire-fighters do to prevent future tragedy is critical.  There is no room for government penny-pinching in a future where extreme weather events will increasingly become the norm.

The available science gives us the knowledge to be as climate-ready as possible, to apply the best modern land management and fire mitigation strategies available to protect lives, communities and priceless natural assets.

As Tasmanians, we have learned the hard way what a heartbreaking toll fire can take.  These lessons can equip us well for a climate-disrupted future.