It's time we consider jailing arsonists for a long time, enough is enough.
This week I returned back to Mount Isa from my holiday break in my home town of Wollongong on the south coast of New South Wales.
I was home for almost three weeks and in that time I did not see a single patch of blue sky.
Instead there was just a miserable smoke-filled haze with an air quality so low you could taste the ash on your tongue and feel the burn in your throat in every breath.
My friends and family told me it had been this way for a month before my arrival.
The fires reached as close as 40 minutes away both north and south of my childhood home.
Yet we are one of the lucky ones.
I have friends who have been evacuated, stayed to fight, and others have lost everything including loved ones.
My uncle is down in the middle of the crisis volunteering to help where there is no food, water or fuel and from afar he said it looks like a scene from Mad Max.
These fires are unprecedented, there is no questioning that.
The records are tumbling, almost 8.5 million hectares have been burned.
With five million of those in New South Wales alone.
Now is the time to act, save lives and learn as much as we possibly can to make sure a catastrophe like this never happens again.
We must learn from our mistakes on how this happened and also our errors in the handling of this crisis.
The world is looking and counting on us to gain as much knowledge as we can as our planet continues to heat up as the years go by.
We need to act on a lot of measures and make sure we are better prepared for when the next bushfire catastrophe hits.
Firstly, it could be time to hold a royal commission into how these fires have got so out of control. Mismanagement has led to this and people need to be held accountable. Those who have lost houses or loved ones deserve answers.
Secondly, it could be time to invest into a new branch of firefighters in affiliation with the army. Many Australians agree the Army should have been helping out those in need from day one and that they were very late to many of the emergencies.
Thirdly, back burning must be now considered as a task of national defence and not something that is ever cut from our budget.
Since 2011 over $100 million has been cut from the National Parks and Wildlife Service.
Fourthly, no more rejecting help from other nations, whether that did or did not happen this time is irrelevant. It has happened in the past and it should never happen again. Bushfires and political egos have no place in times of crisis.
Finally, it's time to bring down the law on arsonists. No more slaps on the wrist, the next arsonist over the age of 18 should be made example of and spend a long time behind bars. Enough is enough.
If you are in a position to donate or help in anyway, please act.
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