Published: Wed, January 15, 2020
Sci-tech | By Patricia Wade

Scott Morrison calls for bushfire royal commission amid devastation

Scott Morrison calls for bushfire royal commission amid devastation

At least 28 people have been killed in the Australian fires that have destroyed 2,000 homes and razed 11.2 million hectares (27.7 million acres), almost half the area of the United Kingdom.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison welcomed the US move to scale back its travel warning and said Australia was "very much open for business", amid concerns the fires would damage the tourism industry and the broader economy.

Bush fires are common during Australia's summer months, but this fire season started unusually early, often moving quickly and unpredictably, scorching swathes of the drought-stricken land.

Smoke again sheathed Sydney on Sunday, nearly a new normal for the country's biggest city, moving the air quality into hazardous territory, according to the NSW Department of Primary Industry index.

"In the years ahead, we are going to continue to evolve our policy in this area to reduce emissions even further and we are going to do it without a carbon tax, without putting up electricity prices and without shutting down traditional industries", he said. "I want to do that with a balanced policy that recognizes Australia's wider national economic and social interests".

Mr Morrison rejected criticism that his government had not done enough before the bush fire season started, but he admitted that once the fires started, some responses could have been different.

"Temperature conditions in Australia are extreme at the moment but they are what we expect to happen on average in a world of three degrees of global warming", said Richard Betts, Head of Climate Impacts Research at Britain's Met Office Hadley Centre.

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Houston had fewer wins at home than on the road, winning 94 home games and 110 on the road during the two seasons. Cora, according to the report, helped coordinate an operation in which a TV monitor was hung near the dugout.

"The fact is that bush fires don't recognise state and territory boundaries", Mr Albanese told reporters.

Meanwhile, the prime minister also took the opportunity to again address the way he has handled things amid the bushfire crisis.

"And nor should the need for national leadership".

-The Australian government committed A$50 million to an emergency wildlife recovery program on Monday, calling the bushfires crisis engulfing the country "an ecological disaster" that threatens several species, including koalas and rock wallabies.

Health officials in New South Wales urged extra precautions to avoid heat-related illnesses. More than 2,100 houses have been destroyed.

The government has said more mental health support services will be provided to firefighters, emergency personnel, individuals and communities.

At least 145 fires continued to burn across Victoria and New South Wales (NSW) states although widespread rainfall is forecast for fire-hit areas on the east coast from Wednesday.

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