Port Macquarie will be one of 11 centres around Australia participating in a protest calling for action on the bushfire crisis and climate change.
Residents are being encouraged to attend the protest on Friday, January 10 at 5.30pm on Town Green.
The event is being coordinated by Uni Students for Climate Justice and is supported by Hastings Parents for the Environment.
Former resident Elliot Downes is coordinating the Port Macquarie event and says there is strong support.
"I've spoken with local climate activists, school students and Rural Fire Service members," he said.
"Everyone agrees that it is urgent that something happens (action) here.
"We are tapping into a national movement too."
He said three issues would be addressed on Friday: Volunteer fire fighters should be paid for risking their lives and the RFS should be adequately funded, there should be genuine aid and relief provided to affected communities and, most importantly, the government needs to begin the rapid transformation away from fossil fuels.
Mr Downes said the climate crisis is fuelling the unprecedented fire season.
"And the government has shown total inaction," he said.
"We really need to send a message that the federal government's $2 billion funding announcement is really a slap in the face for affected communities.
"The fossil fuel industry gets around $29b in government handouts and that money should be directed to those people impacted by these bushfires.
"It is also shocking to think that some volunteer fire fighters are having to purchase their own respiratory face masks."
Mr Downes said the Port Macquarie-Hastings had been affected by fires and more people now want to see action on climate change.
"I think the government is now being forced to acknowledge that climate change is happening," he added.
I think the government is now being forced to acknowledge that climate change is happening.Elliot Downes
Cowper MP Pat Conaghan acknowledged bushfires burning across the Mid-North Coast, and are still burning in many parts of Australia, are the most devastating and prolonged we have experienced.
"Our government's immediate focus has been supporting the Rural Fire Service and state governments to combat the bushfires and help communities recover," he said.
"We have now established the National Bushfire Recovery Agency to be headed up the former AFP Commissioner, Andrew Colvin. This two year, $2 billion commitment will help those Australians affected by these fires get back on their feet as soon as possible.
"In addition, our government has announced that up to 3000 army reservists are available for compulsory call-up for disaster relief. The more boots on the ground, the quicker we can rebuild.
"We've also made compensation available for firefighters who are called out for more than ten days this bushfire season, offering up to $300 a day to a maximum of $6000 for the season, tax-free.
"Volunteer firefighters are engaged by the states so we need the states to agree to deliver the assistance package."
So far NSW, Queensland, Tasmania and SA have agreed to deliver compensation under the program, he said.
Mr Conaghan said he wants to see a calm, thorough inquiry undertaken into these bushfires when the time is right.
"This is why Minister for Natural Disaster and Emergency Management David Littleproud asked the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Environment and Energy to conduct one," he said.
"The inquiry will rationally determine whether these bushfires are a result of changing environmental conditions or a failure of agencies and policies to address proper land management and clearing, or potentially a culmination of different factors.
"Committee chairman Ted O'Brien is leading the inquiry and he would like to receive submissions from the public by email to email@example.com by 28 February this year.
"After the inquiry, we will be able to develop a national strategy for Australia to prevent similar large scale bushfire events in the future and I encourage all residents who have been impacted by bushfire or who have an opinion on this subject to make a submission."
After the inquiry, we will be able to develop a national strategy for Australia to prevent similar large scale bushfire events in the future and I encourage all residents who have been impacted by bushfire or who have an opinion on this subject to make a submission.Pat Conaghan
Mr Conaghan said it will be up to the head of the National Bushfire Recovery Agency, Andrew Colvin, to determine how the $2 billion is allocated in conjunction with the relevant disaster recovery agencies.
Affected residents are able to access separate funding under the Disaster Recovery Payment of a one-off lump sum payment of $1000 to eligible adults severely affected by bushfires and $400 for each eligible child under the age of 16 years.
Another support program provided by the Australian government, the Disaster Recovery Allowance provides up to 13 weeks income support to eligible employees and businesses who have suffered impacts to their business or employment as a direct result of the bushfires.
A spokesperson for Hastings Parents for the Environment said the group supports the event.
"This is an opportunity for members of our community to call on all levels of government to provide leadership," the group said.
"The government needs to develop a climate emergency response that addresses safety of emergency workers and community in facing bushfires and other natural disasters.
"Scientists tell us (these events are) happening more often and with greater severity due to climate change.
"Australia has the opportunity to emerge from the horrifying experience from the last few months as leaders on the global stage, and transition away from fossil fuels, and reap significant benefits for our recovering communities as we do so."
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