Just days after losing everything, the pair and their three-year-old daughter travelled to Sydney this morning from Warrawillah, near Bobin, on the mid-north coast with that tin to make a powerful statement.
Standing outside NSW parliament, addressing a snap protest calling for increased resources for the state’s Rural Fire Service as well as action on climate change, Mr Crowe poured the ashes onto the ground.
“In this bucket is my house,” Mr Crowe told a crowd.
“When’s the time to talk about climate change then, if I’m standing in the wreckage of my own house?”
LIVE: ‘Too late to leave’ – emergency warning as fires spread
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has repeatedly swatted away questions about the impact of climate change on the unprecedented fire emergency gripping the state.
Fire experts, scientists and firefighters on the ground have spoken about the never-before-seen conditions, officially described as “catastrophic” in many regions today, and attributed them to climate change.
Ms Berejiklian and other political figures, including Nationals leader and Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack, have said now is not the time for that discussion.
“We had ample time to prepare and they’re talking about hopes and dreams, thoughts and prayers, miracles and heroes – it’s not realistic,” Mr Crowe said.
“This is not about unicorns and fairies, this is about people’s lives, it’s only going to get worse.”
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In April, a group of 23 former emergency service chiefs wrote to Prime Minister Scott Morrison requesting an urgent meeting to discuss the serious threats facing the community this fire season due to climate change.
They wrote again in September after failing to secure a meeting, again asking to brief the Government on what was ahead.
“You think this is a coincidence? The scientists are telling you this is going to happen, the fire chiefs want to meet with our prime minister and tell him this is going to happen and it happens, and they say, ‘Don’t talk about climate change’,” Mr Crowe said today.
It was a sentiment echoed by his wife, Ms Lee, before the remnants of their home were tipped onto the ground.
“The time is definitely right for talking about climate change,” she said. “For me, there has never been a better time to talk about climate change.”
Meanwhile, Luke Whitington and his young son are “crashing” outside Kirribilli House, the PM’s official residence, while their own home in the Blue Mountains is threatened by bushfires.
Luke Whitington and son from the Blue Mountains have left their home to ‘crash Kirribilli House’ asking Scott to put them up whilst their home is threatened by catastrophic fire danger.#nswpol #nswfires #nswbushfires #auspol pic.twitter.com/fUMppjZ5cw
— Amanda Keeling (@AmandaKeeling) November 12, 2019
Experts warn the unprecedented fire danger facing many communities could result in widespread devastation and further loss of life, with the worst potentially yet to come.
A state of emergency has been declared in NSW with 54 fires burning across the state. There are 55 blazes still raging in Queensland.
Authorities fear the worst is yet to come, with strong winds and high temperatures forecast.