Fines given to Fireproof Australia activists

March 10, 2023
The climate action last April. Inset: Alan Glover and Karen Fitz-Gibbon outside court. Photo: Fireproof Australia

Firefighter Alan Glover and opera singer and mother Karen Fitz-Gibbon, sentenced last April for blocking Sydney Harbour Bridge as part of an Fireproof Australia action, were fined $3000 and given an 18-month community service order on March 8.

Fitz-Gibbon said she was “representing all the parents of school-aged kids and young adults … worried about the impacts of climate change and our governments’ refusal to properly prepare [for it].”

She said the climate movement lacked people her age because they are too exhausted “juggling jobs, rent, mortgages, groceries and all the rest” to join protest movements.

“We see a lot of incredible young people sacrificing what should be their most carefree years and many retirees who are sacrificing what should be their most peaceful.

“But the government ignores my demographic at its peril. Research shows that two thirds of Australians want more action on climate.”

Fitz-Gibbon said the week before she glued herself to the road, she was isolating while nursing my mother through COVID-19.

“Anybody who thinks we are participating in these actions because we are troublemakers, with nothing better to do with our time, is very far off the mark.”

She said governments spend $22,000 a minute on subsidising the fossil fuel industry — “money which could be spent on shoring up our future and keeping our babies out of a fire-and-smoke-filled sensory hell”.

Meanwhile, several environment groups, representing thousands of people, protested outside the electorate offices of all four federal Labor members in the ACT on March 10.

The Australian Conservation Foundation, Community Canberra, Australian Parents for Climate Action Canberra, Move Beyond Coal, Canberra, Fridays for Future, Extinction Rebellion ACT, Peoples Climate Assembly (PCA), and Climate Action Network Australia took part.

Spokesperson John Wurcker from PCA said: “We are deeply concerned the proposed Safeguard Mechanism would permit unfettered offsets for Australia’s top polluters to pay off their emissions bill with dodgy carbon credits.

“In line with safeguard mechanisms across the world, carbon offsets should only be used as a temporary last resort, for the few essential industries where transition technology is still in development.”

New research from The Australia Institute found 63% of ACT voters strongly support a ban on new gas and coal projects in federal climate laws. It also found the overwhelming majority (82%) oppose the unlimited use of carbon offsets to account for polluting projects.

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