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Mr. Jason Falinski
Federal Member of Parliament for Mackellar
Shop 1, 1238 Pittwater Road
Narrabeen NSW 2101

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28th January 2020


Dear Mr Falinski,

My name is Susanne Mitchell. I’ve lived in your electorate for nineteen years. We moved here from the city to raise our children in a community close to beaches and national parks. Traditionally this time of year we take time off to enjoy the local environment. The latter part of 2019 and the first month of this year have been very different. Bushfires rage out of control across our country and over the holidays ash fell from the apocalyptic skies like snow, here on the beaches. It was ominous of worse news to come. The tragedy continues.

In Sydney we’ve got it good, but knowing what’s happening outside of the city breaks me. Knowing that animals are burning alive, not knowing what’s happening, not being able to escape. I’m sad for the volunteer fire fighters who don’t have any option other than to fight for their communities and their lives. I’m sure they are exhausted and dejected from long hours on the fire-front. And I’m so sad for the people who have lost their homes, all the memories inside them, but also years and years worth of possessions that can’t be replaced. Australia will take many years to recover from this.

As I’m sure you know, fires like this were predicted by scientists as a symptom of climate change. And former state fire and rescue commissioner Greg Mullins has confirmed that this is what’s happening. On Sunrise, 13 November 2019, he stated that the amount of backburning needed to prevent these fires wasn’t possible, because “we can’t burn because the fire seasons are so much longer… I’m now a volunteer firefighter – we just can’t get the burns in because it’s either too wet, or it’s too dangerous and they get away from us”. Climate change has made conditions dryer and hotter than they’ve ever been before “supercharging” our weather systems to create unprecedented fire conditions. 

Firefighters need to be given more resources to fight fires like this. But the main thing I wanted to ask from you is to do what’s needed to stop everything from getting even worse – transition to renewable energy, and stop mining and burning coal. Because we know that human induced climate change is causing fires like this, but Australia’s emissions (as well as the rest of the world’s), are still on the rise.

If any country has the ability to switch to renewable energy, Australia does. We’re a wealthy country, and we’re one of the sunniest and windiest countries in the world. The first thing that I’m asking you to do is please push for a commitment to be net carbon zero by 2050, just as England, Denmark, and New Zealand have committed to do. If they can do it, we can. 

I’m also asking you to push parliament to commit to stopping all new coal mines from being built in Australia, including the Adani mine.It was found decades ago that the burning of fossil fuels like coal are a primary cause of carbon emissions. And yet, in 2019 (almost 2020), we’re one of the biggest coal exporters in the world.  Despite this, according to the New York Times, coal mining only employs 0.4% of Australian workers, and makes up only 2.2% of Australia’s GDP. Australia doesn’t need coal, the climate will become much worse if we burn it – regardless of where that is, and very soon, nobody will want our coal. Usually coal mines are given 50 year licenses. If we keep going at the current rate, I can’t even imagine the world we’ll live in in 50 years time. I know for sure though, that nobody will want our coal at that point.

Thank you for taking the time to read this. I look forward to hearing what you’re going to do to help the people of Mackellar at this time.

Yours sincerely, 

Susanne Mitchell

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