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We need more than a Band-Aid approach to help Pacific neighbours with extreme weather

Responding to the devastation Cyclone Winston brought to Fiji, the Greens have called for more humanitarian assistance for Fiji, an overall increase in aid funding and programs to rapidly decrease greenhouse gas emissions. 

‘While the $5 million aid package for Fiji announced by the Turnbull government is a start the level of devastation warrants  an injection of more aid funds to assist with food packages and emergency supplies that are desperately need,’ Senator Rhiannon said. 

‘The damage caused by this extreme weather event highlights the urgent need for the Turnbull government to commit to increasing our annual aid contribution.  

‘Australia cannot rely on a Band-Aid approach to natural disasters.  Our Asia and Pacific neighbours should be given assistance to fight the long term effects of global warming. 

‘The Coalition government are currently pick-pocketing $200 million from the already devastated aid budget to fulfil Turnbull’s Paris summit pledge on climate change. That figure, less than half of Canada’s contribution, is completely inadequate.

‘The Greens will continue to push for at least 0.7% of our Gross National Income to be put towards aid. Shortly I will introduce an overseas aid funding bill to the Senate. The bill will mandate this target and establish an independent Commissioner on Foreign Aid and Development, to ensure that aid money is spent effectively and responsibly.’

Senator Larissa Waters, Australian Greens climate change spokesperson, said cyclones were becoming more intense due to increased sea temperatures and Cyclone Winston was the strongest tropical cyclone on record in the Southern Hemisphere. 

“The devastation of Cyclone Winston must serve as an urgent wake up call to the Liberal Turnbull Government that we are failing our Pacific neighbours on global warming. 

“Our coal, coal seam gas and other dirty and dangerous fossil fuels are making extreme weather worse for communities everywhere, especially our Pacific Island neighbours. 

“As the world’s highest climate polluter per capita, we have a responsibility to help our Pacific Island neighbours deal with extreme weather and to cut our climate pollution, which the government’s plan will increase” Senator Waters said. 

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