US & World

Bushfire victim takes her home’s remains to parliament

Remnants of Ms Plesman's home in front of parliamentImage copyright Dean Sewell / Greenpeace
Image caption Ms Plesman placed the charred remains of her home outside parliament in Canberra on Monday

A woman in Australia has placed the remains of her home outside the country’s parliament building, calling for action on climate change.

Melinda Plesman and her partner Dean Kennedy lost their house after a bushfire ravaged the town of Grafton in New South Wales last month.

She is currently staying in a hotel.

Last month New South Wales and Queensland both declared a state of emergency with thousands evacuated from their homes.

On Monday Ms Plesman took part in a protest in Canberra.

She says she does not know what the future holds for her.

Images from her protest outside parliament show charred items from her home. On one piece of corrugated metal, she had written a message to Prime Minister Scott Morrison: “Morrison, your climate crisis destroyed my home.”

Image copyright Natasha Ferguson/ Greenpeace
Image caption Ms Plesman had been living in the house in New South Wales for more than 30 years

When asked about a link between the fires and climate change last month, Prime Minister Scott Morrison refused to be drawn on the subject.

He said: “My only thoughts today are with those who have lost their lives, and their families.”

Ms Plesman told ABC News: “I lost my house, I lost my way of life – my whole community has – and while that was happening the PM said that he didn’t want us to talk about climate change, that this wasn’t the time.”

She said when Mr Morrison said he was praying for the victims, “I got really upset and angry because I just felt that we needed a hell of a lot more than that.”

Ms Plesman also criticised the opposition Labor Party and said there needed to be a bipartisan response to bushfires.

Image copyright Dean Sewell/ Greenpeace
Image caption She called for the government to take action on climate change

The bushfires are continuing. On Monday, Sydney was covered in a thick haze as strong winds carried smoke from the west into the centre of the city.

Sydney residents have been told to remain indoors.

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Media captionWatch as firefighters pass through a raging bushfire

The Bureau of Meteorology said spring 2019 has been the fifth warmest spring on record. Two million hectares of land in New South Wales have been burnt since July.

Officials warn that the worst of Australia’s bushfire season is still to come.

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