The Bureau of Meteorology has declared that a third La Niña event is underway in the Pacific, increasing the likelihood of above-average rainfall during Spring and Summer in eastern Australia.
Dr Simon Bradshaw, the Climate Council’s Director of Research, said: “A third consecutive La Niña is likely to bring above average rainfall on an already saturated east coast, spelling tough times ahead for many Australians. The risk of extreme rainfall and flooding is also exacerbated by climate change, driven by the burning of coal, oil and gas.
“Helping vulnerable communities build their resilience to, and ability to recover from, worsening flood disasters must be a top priority for state and federal governments, and will help minimise the dangers and devastation of yet another La Niña event.
“This should include urgent implementation of the 80 recommendations of the Royal Commission into National Natural Disaster Arrangements, and the NSW Flood Inquiry.
“Governments should also provide certainty to flood-affected residents on their eligibility for home buyback or land swap schemes, to assist families who are forced or chose to move due to extreme weather and the impacts of climate change.”
Chas Keys, former deputy director-general of the NSW State Emergency Service and Emergency Leaders for Climate Action member added: “A third La Niña brings increased wet weather risk to a landscape where the rivers and dams are already full, and the floodplains are saturated. It’s really a wake-up call for governments to stop dragging their feet on the measures needed to protect communities from increasingly intense and destructive floods.
“We know that extreme weather disasters are only going to get worse due to climate change, and policymakers know exactly how they should respond thanks to the Royal Commission into National Natural Disaster Arrangements, and the NSW Flood Inquiry.
“State and federal governments should implement the findings of the Royal Commission into National Natural Disaster Arrangements, and the NSW Flood Inquiry as a priority, with a focus on helping vulnerable communities build resilience to climate disasters, as well as getting people out of harm’s way by limiting development on flood-prone land.
“Of course, governments also need to be acting on climate change to stop these events from intensifying further, starting with an end to new coal and gas projects in Australia.”
Robert Quirk, a farmer from NSW, said: “This is not the news we wanted to hear. I’m worried about how people in Lismore will cope with a wet spring. These massive rain events will keep happening unless we do something urgently to cut our emissions to protect our farms in the future.”