The City of Sydney Council resolved on Monday to extend financial and moral support to communities affected by fires, as the NSW bushfire crisis continued.
At a full meeting of Council, Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore put forward a motion calling on the City to donate $100,000 to the Australian Red Cross NSW Disaster Relief and Recovery Appeal. An amendment by Liberal Councillor Edward Mandla saw the amount doubled to $200,000.
“We’ve all been shocked and distressed by the destruction caused by the NSW bushfires,” said the Lord Mayor.
“I would like to extend my deepest sympathy to the family of Walter Linder from Lake Munmorah on the Central Coast who lost his life last week, as well as to all the communities who have lost their homes and livelihoods as a result of the recent fires.
“I would also like to extend my appreciation to the firefighters, volunteers and emergency services officers who are working around the clock to contain the situation.”
However, Ms Moore aroused controversy when she linked the bushfires to climate change and said she would write to Prime Minister Tony Abbott, asking the Commonwealth Government to implement recommendations from a recent Senate inquiry into extreme weather.
A heated exchange ensued between Mr Mandla and Clover Moore Independent Team councillors.
The developments come as authorities issue warnings to residents of Sydney itself, advising children, older adults and people with heart and lung conditions to stay indoors, with the city continuing to experience the effects of bushfire smoke.
Professor Wayne Smith, Director of Environmental Health, NSW Health, said: “The best way to avoid breathing in the smoke is to remain inside with the windows and doors closed, preferably in an air-conditioned building.”
Prof Smith said asthma sufferers should be especially mindful, adding: “Fine particles can also irritate the lungs of healthy adults, so it is best to avoid any prolonged outdoor exercise.”
Meanwhile, the Red Cross called on members of the general public to make monetary donations to support people affected by the bushfires.
Secure online donations can be made at www.redcross.org.au or by phoning 1800 811 700. Donations can also be made at all Coles and BI-LO supermarkets in NSW and the ACT.
At press time, fires continued to burn in the Blue Mountains, Hawkesbury, Central Coast, Southern Highlands and Hunter Valley areas.
The fires, which began in earnest last Thursday, have so far killed one person, burnt out more than 86,000 hectares, and destroyed over 200 homes.