The Head Of Australia’s Disaster Relief Agency Says People Shouldn’t Live In Flood-Prone Areas

"What do you think is going to happen? Their house falls in the river, and they say it’s the government’s fault."

flood shane stone

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The head of the government’s National Recovery and Resilience Agency — AKA the guy who is responsible for disaster recovery in Australia — has simply asserted that people just shouldn’t live in flood-prone areas if they don’t want to see their houses destroyed.

Over the last week, we’ve seen much of the east coast of Australia ravaged by rain bombs and “once in a century” storms that are only becoming more common as climate change wreaks havoc on Australian life as we know it. But if you ask Shane Stone, the government shouldn’t have to foot the bill if you choose to live in an area that is prone to flooding.

“You’ve got people who want to live among the gum trees — what do you think is going to happen? Their house falls in the river, and they say it’s the government’s fault,” Shane Stone told the Herald, adding that residents must “face realities.”

“Australians need to have an honest conversation about where and how people build homes. The taxpayer and the ratepayer cannot continue to pick up the bill for these huge, catastrophic damage events.”

What Stone neglected to mention in his commentary to the Herald is that — as climate change continues — we’re seeing the definition of a flood-prone area change with it.

The Government Continues To Ignore Climate Change

It’s not exactly fair to expect entire communities to up and leave the lives they’ve built as climate change decides it is now a flood-prone area, especially when there are hundreds of emergency and evacuation alerts across New South Wales and Queensland currently.

According to data gathered by the Insurance Council of Australia, 15 percent of Australian homes are susceptible to floods, while two to three percent are in what is deemed a “frequent flood zone.” So, it’s a pretty big ask to tell 15 percent of the population to up and leave their lives.

Also, there’s a $4.7 billion disaster relief fund that remains untouched while people are dying and property is being destroyed in “once-in-a-century” floods.

But the real kicker here is that these comments are being made by the same government that continues to ignore the threat of climate change that is quite literally knocking on — and knocking down — our doors right now.

In the last year alone, the Australian government has been caught out lying about our climate emissions on multiple occasions and has been called out for allegedly trying to downplay the impact of coal on the environment. Not to mention, we ranked dead last for our climate action policies in last year’s Climate Change Performance Index, which is hardly surprising considering we still allow the likes of Matt Canavan to waltz around asserting things like coal is “good for the environment.”

Heck, Morrison only committed to a net-zero target last year, and even that is extremely vague and hedges its bets on future technological advancements we haven’t even thought of yet.

So before we start asserting that people should uproot their entire lives, perhaps its time we start taking climate change seriously.

Photo Credit: Brianna Morris-Grant/Twitter