CountryFireAuthority

State of recurring Disasters

Victorian Premier Dan Andrews has made a very strong case for rejecting identity politics in all of its forms.

It has now come to light that he and his team prioritized social inclusion over ability when selecting the private security firms to manage hotel quarantine during coronavirus. This is widely regarded as the source of the second outbreak. Guards with no training who ended up in some cases fornicating with guests under their watch. You can’t make this stuff up.

This is the same individual who refused to censure his Deputy Chief Health Officer Annaliese van Diemen for tweeting,

Sudden arrival of an invader from another land, decimating populations, creating terror…Forces the population to make enormous sacrifices & completely change how they live in order to survive. COVID19 or Cook 1770?

How is it possible that social justice took a front seat to a pandemic? Surely ALL Victorians would gladly trade identity politics for sound health policy prescriptions which didn’t lock them up for another 6 weeks.

Andrews was only too happy to have his police force fine people playing golf or fishing but didn’t prosecute a single person for attending a BLM rally which by itself must have also led to a spike in cases.

Here are some more pearls of wisdom we’ve noted over the years.

Years ago, the Victorian premier championed that he had 200,000 likes on FB, twice as many as Mike Baird in New South Wales. He also made the completely worthless boast that “Mike Baird gets no ‘Likes’ after 10pm“. Is that a true test of leadership? That only 3% of Victorians like him?

We recall Andrews pushing the Victorian Police to host segregated seminars for potential new recruits in order to accommodate their religious beliefs.

In October last year he said misogynist slogans on vehicles would lead to an automatic cancelation of registration. Presumably misandrist slogans were ok.

We noted the shocking state of affairs with the unionization of the Victorian CFA and its dreadful administration. Huge uptick in salaries, staffing and administration costs with a decline in equipment procurement.

Or the rorts for votes scandal.

Or joining China’s BRI without consulting the federal government on national security grounds.

We could go on.

The ability to steer through a crisis is the true test of any leader. All of Andrews’ flawed thinking might be nice to haves in the moral preening stakes. Sadly coronavirus has exposed them as utterly meaningless and outright dangerous. Putting forward ridiculous parameters for hiring put Victorian lives in more danger.

How he hasn’t resigned is beyond us. Despite being the most disastrous premier in Australian history, Andrews continues to get comforting support from mainstream and social media. Maybe he believes their propaganda that he is doing a decent job. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Did spending $1bn more on fire services in 2018-19 just end up in smoke?

Based on a request for further data across more fire services in Australia, it is clear that funding hasn’t been a problem. It seems allocation of those funds must be. As we showed in the NSW RFS and VIC CFA reports, expenditure seemed to be directed at increasing staff in administration accompanied by higher salaries instead of equipment, where numbers went down.

Expenditures, not revenues are a better place to look because more than income, spending denotes actual deployment of capital. Note most of the country’s fire services spend more than they earn so as government entities, the state governments back and fill those budget holes. So what might not appear purely as a direct appropriation from a state government at the start of the year, someone has to shore up the deficit. Note many fire services keep the earnings from fire levies and other quasi-taxation lines so that doesn’t show up in the budget line.

More importantly, were expenses allocated sensibly we could reasonably argue that the so called “budget cuts” the media keeps banging on about clearly weren’t having any impact on their ability to spend an extra $956.4mn over and above the 2014-15 aggregate figure. That’s an average 33% increase.

We looked at 8 fire service across the country and compared 2014-15 spending to the latest 2018-19 published figures. Here are the results.

Fire & Rescue NSW

$674m -> $814m ( +20.7%)

NSW RFS

$311.2m -> $554.8m (+78.2%)

Victorian MFB

$372.5m -> $507.7m (+36.3%)

Victorian CFA

$484.8m -> $656.7m (+35.5%)

Queensland FES

$569.9m -> $724.6m (+27.1%)

WA DFES

$359.8m -> $435.5m (+21%)

SA CFS

$74m -> $89m (+20.4%)

Tasmanian TFS

$76.2m -> $96.6m (+26.8%)

Not a lot of budget crimp in there. If budgets were being so drastically cut no amount of calendars featuring fire fighters clutching puppies would make up the short fall. More than that, state governments would have tried to ratchet back the deficits in the future budgets. Yet they didn’t.

So once again if we look at the direct appropriations from the states as a line item we get:

Fire & Rescue NSW

$603m -> $724m ( +20.1%)

NSW RFS

$149m -> $491m (+329.5%)

Victorian MFB

$325.7m -> $414.3m (+27.2%)

Victorian CFA

$451.2m -> $622.2m (+37.9%)

Queensland FES

$494.7m -> $561.2m (+13.4%)

WA DFES

$303.7m -> $418m (+37.6%)

SA CFS

$74.9m -> $77.4m (+3.3%)

Tasmanian TFS

$57.8m -> $66.8m (+15.6%)

So in every case, government spending (whether state or federal) and the state levies these bodies can charge, went up on 2014/15.

Pity the media keeps jabbing with budget cut narratives when the numbers simply don’t paint that picture.

As we’ve said all along, we need to take a long hard look at who have been making the decisions inside the fire service administrations (not the front line fire fighters) before we start pinning medals to their chests.

“Senior management of the Fire Services act like a Mafia”

We have been lucky to speak to one of the brave volunteers (pseudonym Fred, a 25yr veteran in the RFS) who has spoken out about the utter incompetence of the administration within fire services HQ. You should be furious after reading this. You are being lied to and the media is complicit by failing to do basic investigative journalism.

Instead of all of the glowing praise being heaped on the senior management of the fire services, here are some brutal comments that contradict the current media narrative.

What you will read are some of the direct quotes from our conversation which throw more light on some of our earlier suspicions.

FNF Media has been questioning the competence of senior management in the HQs. We have been demanding that the fire services are thoroughly investigated when this is all over. At the moment senior fire management teams are being deified in ways that almost seek to make them exempt from any wrongdoing. If there is nothing to hide, they should welcome the clean bill of health that would arise from an audit.

Putting it down to climate change, as some of our former chiefs suggest, is just way too convenient a scapegoat to cover up for what looks more and more like poor management practice.

We noted last week that budgets and salaries have been rising at NSWRFS, but equipment levels falling. How is that that with $140mn extra dollars last fiscal year, a 78% jump on 2014/15 levels, can this be? Fred mentioned,

there has been a massive effort in restricting bushfire hazard reduction burning by the fire services. Also, the senior management of the fire services act like a mafia. I don’t know how they get away with it.

Scarily we’re told that no resources are being refused. Unfortunately, we have evidence to the contrary. Fred said,

Premier, Minister and Commissioner all lied when they said that all resources were being used and no offers of assistance were ever refused.

Fred has asked FNF Media to withhold the proof of the conversation with RFS and it is damning, to say the least. It is toxic.

Recall our post which discussed the frustration within the Volunteer Fire Fighters Association (VFFA) with respect to restricted burning. The VFFA said,

“Hazard reduction is the only proven management tool rural firefighters have to reduce the intensity and spread of bushfires and this has been recognised in numerous bushfire enquires since the Stretton enquiry into the 1939 Victorian Bushfires…The amount of ‘green tape’ we have to go through to get a burn approved is beyond frustrating; says Peter Cannon. The VFFA is calling on the NSW State Government to reduce the amount of green tape involved in planning and conducting hazard reductions so that our Volunteer Firefighters can get on with the job of conducting fire prevention works in the cooler months to prevent the inevitable summer bushfire disasters…Remember that it’s far more cost-effective, say around 66 to 100 times more cost-efficient, to prevent wildfires through hazard reduction than it is to have reactionary fire response, which is what we have at the moment. With the great number of lost homes and decreasing property values through these wildfires, what then will the total fiscal amount be…when it could have all been prevented by effective Hazard reduction!”

Fred’s comments with us sing the same tune.

They spend such huge amounts of money on tech, equipment and salaries and yet achieve bugger all bushfire hazard reduction works. If I had half the budget of the FRNSW Bushfire Section I could do at least 4 times more burning. They are so inefficient.

My volunteer brigade did Zero burning last 12 months…volunteers are having to purchase their own uniforms and PPE… RFS senior management lies constantly and the media go along with them.

In the most recent fires, Fred commented,

The state government, RFS and FRNSW all declined our assistance, even as homes burned down with no trucks to save them.

The back burn on Bells Line of Road SW of Mt Wilson. It ended of pushing East and took out Mt Wilson and then went into the Blue Mountains National Park. Media reported that fire as part of Gospers Mountain but it was a wholly separate fire lit by RFS in exactly the wrong spot.

This is commentary from an experienced veteran volunteer with a quarter-century of under his belt, not some rookie with a garden hose who will just get in harm’s way. Yet Fred’s well-trained services were refused. Period. We have the evidence. He went further,

Very poor use of available volunteers. 70,000 are on the books but less than 7,000 are being used????

They [management] should be investigated and sacked. Not given medals and bigger budgets.

I am hoping I will be a witness in the inquiries or Royal Commission after…This all needs to come out.”

I have emails from RFS and FRNSW already shared with the Minister and Premier. They are well aware of the problem. But the RFS Commissioner is like Santa at Christmas right now.

Will our mainstream media going out of its way to ask probing questions instead of having the likes of Karl Stefanovic rant on morning TV about the PM’s shortcomings while blowing wind up the backside of the fire chief? Apparently not. Too simple to report on easy clickbait, devoid of any facts.

Let us pray that when all the fires have died down, the post-mortem avoids arse covering and blame-shifting. Although we know that is exactly what will happen.

Remember climate change is an irrelevant argument as we pointed out in our study here. FR NSW mentions the word ‘climate change‘ once in the last 6 years of annual reports. Even then it was in reference to fire stations voluntarily switching off non-essential lighting for Earth Hour. Hardly pointing to detailed statistics derived from their own experience. On the flip side, the Victorian CFA mentions ‘inclusion‘ 56 times in the last 6 years of annual reports. Priorities don’t seem to lie where the core business lies.

Money does not seem to be the major problem even though a further $2bn is being committed for relief. It is increasingly looking like mismanagement. If the volunteers, who do it without compensation, are screaming at the desk jockeys who orchestrate the controlled burn-offs (or lack thereof) doesn’t it make one curious as to why the fires got so ridiculously out of control?

We have every right to be angry. We should settle for nothing less. FNF Media is astonished at the generosity of the $40m in donations raised for bushfire relief. However, we worry that the fire services don’t appear to have a lot of skill in allocating vital funds where needed if volunteers like Fred are to be believed and as we wrote in previous discussions. Given we have the proof, he should be and the cover-up will be found out.

National Parks & Wildlife Service hazard reduction data request

Logo - National Parks & Wildlife Service NSW

As requested by a reader yesterday, we investigated the National Parks & Wildlife Service (NPWS) data on bushfire hazard reduction. NPWS is part of the Office of Environment & Heritage (OEH) annual reports but the data is best gleaned from NSWRFS annual report appendices.

NPWS is responsible for the management of more than 860 national parks and reserves across NSW, covering an area of approx. seven million hectares, a land base that includes some of the most remote, rugged and bushfire-prone country in NSW. Since 2005, NPWS has regularly undertaken more than 50% of the total area of prescribed burning in NSW despite only managing about 25% of the state’s bushfire-prone lands.

In 2013, NPWS noted in Living with fires in NSW National Parks,

Fuel is one of the fundamental elements required to sustain a fire. While other factors, such as topography and weather, will greatly influence fire spread and intensity, fuel is the element most easily manipulated for fire management. Hence hazard reduction is about reducing the quantity and/or changing the structure of the available fuel…It is neither possible nor desirable to eliminate bushfires in NSW – they are inevitable across all fire-prone vegetation types. When high fuel loads, ignition sources and adverse weather inevitably coincide, wildfires will result.”

NWPS.png

As we can see, prescribed burning carries a fair degree of variability within the seasons, however, when benchmarked against NPWS’ own self-imposed targets (135,000ha from 2013/14) we see the following.

NPWS TGT.png

5 out of the last 8 years, NPWS missed its goal. When one considers that NPWS has such a high weighting in the burns, a miss has a larger relative impact.

NPWS TGT PCT.png

So who else is responsible for prescribed burns in NSW?

WHO BURNED.png

We also note from the NPWS report, Living with fires in NSW National Parks that the trend in bushfires since 1976 has been down. It also says that “despite climate change impacts, a weak but downward trend in the annual average size of wildfires on parks and reserves has occurred over the last 35 years and NPWS aims for this trend to continue. Improved bushfire detection and suppression effectiveness and more strategic fuel management within parks and reserves may be a contributing factor to this trend.

The proportion of wildfires managed in various size classes is a more useful indicator than average fire size for assessing the effectiveness of detection and suppression capability. Since 2000, 79% of all wildfires on NPWS reserves have been contained to less than 100 ha in area.Only 1% of fires exceeded 10,000ha in size. 

Now that we have a fire size in NSW exceeding 3,600,000ha it is safe to assume that the effectiveness and detection of suppression capabilities have not been extensive enough.

We should add that unlike the annual reports published by the fire services, NPWS does make more reference to climate change in the previous hyperlink although it is worth mentioning that it relies on third-party sources even though a lot of its own data conflicts with those trends in the report itself. At the very least it is a bit more extensive than FR NSW’s voluntary pledge which nudges fire stations to observe ‘Earth Hour’ once a year.

There is a stark admission by NPWS that arson is on the rise and confirms it is the largest cause of bushfires, data supported by the Australian Institute of Criminology. According to the US Department of the Interior (DOI) notes that 90% of wildland fires are caused by humans, 49% of that being deliberate.  So there is consistency in bushfire data across nations. In November 2019, one NSWRFS volunteer was arrested for starting 7 fires.

FNF Media wants to encourage people to objectively evaluate the data sets we provide. They are provided so readers can form opinions in an easy to consume manner that, will more often than not, challenge the narratives so rife in the clickbait hunting mainstream media. We are more than happy to receive requests like this to get to the bottom of issues while endeavouring to remove the emotion so often attached to ideological positions, especially climate change.

VIC CFA statistics – no wonder the UFU voted for Dan Andrews

VICCFA FTE.png

No wonder Premier Dan Andrews had the support of the United Firefighters Union in the 2014 election. Once put into office he pushed the Victorian Country Fire Authority (CFA) under its wing. Since elected, over 850 new FT jobs have been added to the CFA which stand at nearly 3x that of the NSW RFS. The CFA budget, according to the annual reports (here) has ballooned from $484mn to $657m over the same period.

VIC CFA Budget.png

CFA employee benefits have grown from 48.7% of the budget since Andrews took over to 56.7%. To put that in perspective, NSW RFS went from 30.4% to 22.3%. Average salaries at the CFA have also grown from $123,806 average to $134,435.

Employee costs Vic vs NSW.png

We also note that under Dan Andrews, the number of volunteers has fallen from 59,700 immediately before he took office to 54,621 today. Volunteers were none too impressed to be told their selfless service would be controlled by a union.

Volunteers NSWVIC.png

So do we immediately implore PM Scott Morrison to start splashing out the cash in Victoria? What has Victoria got for its money in terms of equipment?

Water Pumpers.png

In terms of fire trucks, the CFA has less than half the number that the NSW RFS has in its fleet. Only on water carriers does the CFA trump the RFS with 286 vs 63.

Fire Trucks.png

Unfortunately, the CFA has very limited data on controlled burn-offs and data that is useful in making a comparison. We will need to dig deeper into the bowels of the CFA statistics.

Within the annual reports, the CFA spends far more time discussing LGBT Pride, gender equality and diversity. Which probably goes some way in explaining why so much of the CFA budget is directed at jobs, not equipment.

Once again, FNF Media thinks the grounds for auditing the fire services is a necessary evil to get to the heart of how such devastating bushfires got out of control and burnt for so long. The data here simply throws up too many questions. As a consolation, the NSW RFS looks far more efficient than the CFA. Then again, in the Democratic People’s Republic of Victoria, this should surprise nobody.

Another good reason to rehash Thomas Sowell’s apt quote,

Those who cry out that the government should ‘do something’ never even ask for data on what has actually happened when the government did something, compared to what actually happened when the government did nothing.”

NSW Rural Fire Service statistics – where your tax dollars go

NSWRFS Budget.png

The media has been quick to pick on the calls for our government to spend more on our fire services. We thought it a good idea to look at the facts gleaned from the annual reports of the NSW RFS, available here. We will go through state by state in the coming days and look at the totals to work out where our money has gone. What you are about to read may surprise you.

The first chart denotes the NSW RFS budget. The 2018-19 budget was $554mn, up from $311mn 5 years prior, or a 78% increase. One would expect that money would be spent on shiny new toys to help fight fires.

NSWRFS FT.png

As we can see, the number of fire trucks in service has trended down. From a peak of 4,385 in 2014/15 to 3,883 in 2018/19 or down 11%. There could be an argument made for replacements to more efficient equipment but in order to put out blazes, sheer numbers should help

NSWRFS WP.png

Water Pumper numbers have fallen from 71 to 63, or -11%. Water carriers have fallen from a peak of 64 to 53, or -17%.

NSWRFS WC.png

When looking at the number of grass or bushfires that were dealt with the trend looks as follows.

NSWRFS Bushfires

When assessing controlled burns, the total area in hectares by year that was conducted is as follows.

NSWRFS CB.png

However, when dividing by the number of controlled burns conducted by year, we see that the average slid from 259ha per burn to 74ha. This is not proof of efficacy.

NSWRFS CB PC.png

How has the trend of the brave and selfless volunteers at the NSW RFS progressed?

RFS Voluntee.png

Employed staff at the NSW RFS has increased from 846 in 2012/13 to 936 in 2018/19.

NSW RFS FT Emp.png

With that, average salaries have crept up from $114,285 in 2012/13 to $131,908 in the latest filing. In no way is FNF Media casting aspersions on the value of those full-time employees.

NSWRFS FTE Salary Avg.png

Although the growth in the Chief Commissioner’s total remuneration has grown from $292,450 in 2012/13 to $439,015 in 2018/19 or a 50% increase over that period.

NSW RFS CC Salary.png

Running the RFS is no simple task. Hiring good people to run the operation shouldn’t be done on the cheap.

The reason FNF Media has suggested that the fire services need a thorough audit is to work out whether tax dollars are being spent wisely. Since 2012/13, $2.75bn has been spent on the NSW RFS. Are we right to question why a rising budget has led to a drift in equipment and a fall-off in volunteers? Can we link the reduced average burns in some way to the very high level of fuel loads that many volunteers have pointed to within all of the current political grandstanding of chucking more money at the problem instead of evaluating the efficacy of that spend?

Because to look at the data on a stand-alone basis, it would seem that the ball has been dropped somewhere. It doesn’t seem plausible that firefighters can be short of vital equipment when there was a $140mn extra spent last year. Only $15m went on extra salaries. Stands to reason that there might be a problem within the decision making processes in the senior management echelons of the fire service that warrants closer inspection.

That is a job for you Gladys Berejklian

Time we investigated and audited the fire services’ senior personnel

Trust The Guardian to publish a piece from Michael Mann, of hockey stick fame, to dish a sermon on the connection of bushfires with climate change as he prepares his studies in Australia. Perhaps he can cut his trip short by first paying a visit to the Australian Institute of Criminology which will tell him that 85% of bushfires are caused by humans – accidentally, suspiciously or deliberately lit. Watch the media wax lyrical about his pontification.

David Marr has also written a puff piece in The Guardian which has nothing to do with bushfires and everything to heap on a conservative prime minister, Scott Morrison to push the climate narrative. There is a reason he is a regular on the ABC Insiders program.

Marr wrote,

We know the sight by heart: corrugated iron on a low pile of ash with a chimney left standing. Another house gone. And the pattern of bushfires is part of our lives too.”

Anyone with a beating heart feels a sense of sorrow at the destruction of 1,000 homes and the tragic loss of nearly two dozen lives, but some perspective is needed.

The 2009 Black Friday bushfires in Victoria saw 173 deaths and over 2,000 homes destroyed.

The Great East-Japan Disaster of 2011 caused the destruction of 374,000 homes and the deaths of over 16,000 people.

Still none of these statistics will help those who have lost loved ones. We need to focus on what caused the problems in the first place. In Iapan’s case Mother Nature was to blame. In much of these recent bushfires, arsonists are to blame. Don’t let that get in the way of the climate change narrative.

Negligence is a big factor. Does this look like a well maintained fire trail to you? The only way you can tell is by the sign marking it.

But don’t let poor forest management get in the way of a climate change agenda, as Marr does here,

One of the duties of a leader is to find the words in times like these. So many have died. So much has been destroyed. But how can Scott Morrison speak to the experience of the country if he can’t admit we are living through unique times? He says instead: “We have faced these disasters before.”

Yes perhaps they are unique times where Marr can honestly believe that reducing our already minuscule emissions is somehow more important to mitigating bushfires than actually removing the aging fuel loads from the floor. Easier to blame ScoMo.

While we can’t sing the praises of the brave men and women fighting the blazes high enough, we must reflect on the upper management within the fire services for some spectacular own goals.

Take the Gullen Range Wind Farm built around Bannister. Despite local RFS officials raising concerns that the erection of these wind turbines would take Crookwell airstrip out of action for fire fighting duties (because the water bomber aircraft would not be able to get sufficient height to clear them), the head honchos overruled them.

We’ve mentioned in earlier posts that the Boeing 737 water bomber is a white elephant because it can only operate out of 4 airstrips, limiting its usefulness outside of political happy snaps to say we have one. Were it perfect for the job, one imagines the extent of the fires would have been less.

So in order to defeat the side effects of supposed climate change, advice from climate alarmists led to the construction of barriers to prevent mitigating them.

The saddest part from the bushfire disaster is that fingers will be pointed incessantly at climate change being the largest factor when human negligence of another kind is actually the problem, including those people entrusted to prevent them in the first place. Not the actual fire fighters but the senior management.

Blaming everything on climate change is the biggest cop out.

FNF Media recommends the key fire service senior management be audited for their actions, practices and communications in the years leading up to this. So much was preventable. There should be no sacred cows. In the aftermath of the disaster, we can take our time to work out the best way to prevent such fires occurring down the line instead of expediting tax payer dollars to buy equipment that might be unfit for purpose.

Bushfires more closely linked to white patriarchy than climate crisis

Again and again we have said we feel sorry for the manipulation of poor Greta Thunberg by activist adults. Yes she has a huge platform, but the more things that come out of her mouth the less credible she sounds as we pointed out yesterday with what caused Germans to cut air travel in November.

Her latest stab linking climate to the bushfires in Australia was to post on Twitter, “we still fail to make the connection between the climate crisis and extreme weather events.

Perhaps because there isn’t.

Had her overseers referred her to the very reports they themselves have published (March 2018 report on weather extremes with respect to anthropogenic induced global warming) she would have learnt,

“…There is low confidence in observed trends in small-scale phenomena such as tornadoes and hail because of data inhomogeneities and inadequacies in monitoring systemsin some regions droughts have become less frequent, less intense, or shorter, for example, in central North America and northwestern Australia. There is limited to medium evidence available to assess climate-driven observed changes in the magnitude and frequency of floodslow confidence for the attribution of any detectable changes in tropical cyclone activity to anthropogenic influences..low confidence in projections of changes in extreme winds.. low confidence in projections of changes in monsoonslow confidence in wave height projections…overall low confidence because of inconsistent projections of drought changes…low confidencein projected future changes in dust storms…low confidence in projections of an anthropogenic effect on phenomena such as shallow landslides.”

Low confidence” is mentioned 230 times in the above report. “High confidence” gets talked about 169 times. “Cold” is mentioned 82x. “Hot” 44x. “Cold extreme” 11x and “Hot extreme” 8x. Is this a coincidence?

But of course a spoon fed teenager knows better than the Australian Institute of Criminology which states 85% of bushfires are accidentally, deliberately or suspiciously lit. US Forestry Service data backs up the AIC with its research revealing 90% of fires starting the same way. So unless climate change impacts the moods of arsonists, this is not a strong case.

The ultimate irony is that she actually helped make climate alarmism cool again (no pun intended) because another 9,000 extra time wasters flew into the COP25 summit in Madrid over the 22,000 that attended COP24 in Katowice.

Now that Greta has parroted,

After all, the climate crisis is not just about the environment. It is a crisis of human rights, of justice, and of political will. Colonial, racist, and patriarchal systems of oppression have created and fueled it. We need to dismantle them all. Our political leaders can no longer shirk their responsibilities.

perhaps she can get more mileage by tweeting the AIC’s report which finds the most common profile of arsonists is,

“white male, mid-20s, patchy employment record, often above average intelligence, but poor academic achievement and poor social development skills…56% of convicted structural arsonists and 37% of bushfire arsonists in NSW had a prior conviction for a previous offence. 

In order to be called a think tank, critical thinking would help

The problem with think tanks nowadays is that many are giving the rest a bad name. It would seem that not enough are actually doing the thing they are supposed to be doing – critical thinking.

It was only yesterday that the World Economic Forum’s 2020 report on gender justified a superior “health & survivability” gender gap score to Syrian women even though they live on average 15 years less than Australian women. Why? Because the WEF put more emphasis on the age gap between the sexes rather than longevity, poor Syrian males whose average life expectancies struggle to make 52-yo get back-handed applause for doing their bit for gender equality.

Closer to home, the think tank, The Australia Institute (TAI), has proposed the idea of a $1/ton carbon tax on fossil fuel companies to put into an independently administered climate disaster fund.

As ever with left-wing think tanks, taxation is the only viable cure to all ills. On page 37, TAI doesn’t miss the chance to write a few lines about our poor Pacific neighbours at risk of being inundating by rising sea levels despite a study showing 88.6% of Pacific islands and atolls being stable or growing in size. Who needs evidence when we want a narrative?

Don’t forget the one important takeaway. TAI was named as one of the four supposed “experts” prepared to put its name in a Climate Change Performance Index (CCPI) report which scored Australia dead last on international and domestic climate policy. Remember this was the mob that handed Australia a 0.0 (zero point zero) score.

Only foaming at the mouth alarmists could derive such a ridiculous total and only a research body with little interest in objectivity would allow it to be included. If you are hunting for credibility, you won’t find it in the CCPI report.

Therefore if this is the standard at the TAI, why should we pay the slightest attention to them in terms of policy options to mitigate disasters?

TAI wrote in the heavily media, BoM & Deloitte sourced National Climate Disaster Fund report,

It is now clear that global warming increases both the frequency and intensity of many types of natural disasters including floods, bushfires, droughts and other extreme weather events. This is borne out by the science and experienced in unprecedented extreme events in Australia and globally.

Then why did the UNIPCC, the carbon cathedral of climate alarmism, state in its March 2018 report on weather extremes the following with respect to anthropogenic induced global warming?

“…There is low confidence in observed trends in small-scale phenomena such as tornadoes and hail because of data inhomogeneities and inadequacies in monitoring systemsin some regions droughts have become less frequent, less intense, or shorter, for example, in central North America and northwestern Australia. There is limited to medium evidence available to assess climate-driven observed changes in the magnitude and frequency of floodslow confidence for the attribution of any detectable changes in tropical cyclone activity to anthropogenic influences..low confidence in projections of changes in extreme winds.. low confidence in projections of changes in monsoonslow confidence in wave height projections…overall low confidence because of inconsistent projections of drought changes…low confidence in projected future changes in dust storms…low confidence in projections of an anthropogenic effect on phenomena such as shallow landslides.”

Low confidence” is mentioned 230 times in the above report. “High confidence” gets talked about 169 times. “Cold” is mentioned 82x. “Hot” 44x. “Cold extreme” 11x and “Hot extreme” 8x. Is this a coincidence?

Backed by such “low confidence”, why would we lend time to TAI to give us solutions which only raise taxes on fossil fuel industries? Why hasn’t TAI consulted with the Australian Institute of Criminology (AIC) to learn that 85% of Aussie bushfires are either deliberately, suspiciously or accidentally lit? Why not consult the WA Government’s Bushfire Front site which debunks the myth of climate change causing megafires?

Never mind such trivialities, TAI quotes the head of the Australian Defence Force, General Angus Campbell, who noted that Australia is in “the most natural disaster-prone region in the world” and thatclimate change is predicted to make disasters more extreme and more common.Since when did Australian military personnel become climate experts? Given our Navy uses pink nail varnish to promote recruitment is it any wonder he makes such activist statements?

For FNF Media, who does not profess to be a climate scientist, there is no escaping the list of activists straying out of their lane to push their non-existent credentials on the environment.

Take the Australian Medical Association (AMA). How is it that the AMA is being regarded as an expert on climate change? Does getting a degree in medicine bestow one insights on the impacts of hurricane or drought activity?

The Doctors for Environment Australia have jumped on the activist bandwagon too saying, “three medical colleges, the RACP, ACEM and ACRRM representing tens of thousands of doctors recently declared climate change a health emergency.

Yet do the AMA, RACP, ACEM or ACRRM speak for the each and everyone of their members? The stats say otherwise. In 1962, more than 95% of doctors belonged to the AMA. By 1987 it was 50%. AHPRA reports that in 2016 there were 107,179 registered medical practitioners. The 2016 AMA annual report notes a membership of 29,425. That is 27% of doctors. Shouldn’t the AMA board raise the alarm and focus on the hollowing of its base?

Or should we just follow the money? The non-warmist RACGP has more than doubled its revenues since 2012, while AMA has trickled up 10%. Not surprising AMA revenues have stalled when it has sought to get medical students, which now represent over 1/3rd of members to sign up for free in order to pad the numbers in the hope they’ll join the save the planet cabal.

Even the financial sector is blowing the alarmist trumpet. The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) stated earlier this year, “there is no excuse for inaction on climate change, warning there is a high degree of certainty that financial risks will materialize as a result of a warming climate.”

Why isn’t anyone asking what APRA is doing by shaming companies that do not meet voluntary climate risk disclosure targets which are set out by the Task Force in Climate-related Financial Disclosures, a private sector body chaired by none other than global warming alarmist Michael Bloomberg? Where is the independent thought? Talk about taking one’s eyes off the ball.

Our own central bank is burning witches too. In a speech given by the Deputy Governor, the RBA is basing its assertions on the prophecies of the IPCC and BOM, two of countless organisations which have been caught red handed manipulating climate data. Why doesn’t data malfeasance constitute a red flag in the RBA’s internal analysis? Do they apply the same rigour to interest rate policy?

Or our mega banks that refuse to lend money to the Adani project, not based on any valid financial risk assessment but ideological moral preening. Shouldn’t shareholders be concerned that banks are making such irrational investment policy when they need to offset the alarming imbalance in their mortgage loan books? Never mind.

Or the revelation that a band of 29 former fire chiefs, who are proclaiming global warming expertise, are backed by the even more alarmist Climate Council, who we called out on their own “colossal bullshit.” Yes, the Climate Council’s Chief Councillor is none other than Tim Flannery, a man with an absolutely terrible record of dud predictions about our climate.

FNF Media couldn’t hold a flame to these gentlemen in understanding fire behaviour and how to extinguish them, but feels justified questioning the extent of their expertise in climate science.

Because therein lies the problem. The list of supposed experts keeps growing. Yet the ever compliant media falls into line and joins the cheerleading squad. Throw a Cate Blanchett into the mix and get celebrities to espouse their superior intellect to the rest of us.

Perhaps we might ask our click bait journalists whether they consult their bank manager for climate change wisdom anymore than they do the Bob Jane T-Mart tyre fitter for relationship advice?

There is a sad truth that more and more think tank tomes are succumbing to ideological clickbait group think rather than pushing rigid processes to come up with meaningful outcomes. TAI just adds to the growing list of those reverse engineering a narrative. Perhaps the TAI carbon tax solution should also include the manufacture of the raw materials that go to making solar cells, wind towers and battery backups (all derived in part from fossil fuels).

Oh and yes, there is no doubt Syrian men and women would trade a trimming of the health and survivability gender gap to add 15-20 years to their lives.