Bushfire survivors call for pause on coal, gas projects

Jeremy Piper/AAP PHOTOS

Bushfire survivors have urged the federal government to pause the approval of new coal and gas projects until environmental rules are overhauled.

Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek is consulting on new regulations as the government seeks to deliver on its promise of an Environmental Protection Agency.

The minister has said she wants the "broken" environmental laws to be "nature positive".

The non-partisan organisation Bushfire Survivors for Climate Action wants the review to ensure high carbon-emitting fossil fuel projects are assessed properly for their climate impact.

The group argues fossil fuel projects pollute the environment and drive climate change, creating extreme weather events that put communities at risk from intense bushfires such as the Black Summer fires of 2019-2020.

Serena Joyner - CEO of BSCA, co-founder of Resilient Blue Mountains and wife of a volunteer firefighter - said a pause in coal and gas approvals was needed.

"Those of us on the frontline of past bushfires have been watching the recent fires across the northern hemisphere with horror," she said.

"Now as our summer approaches the worrying predictions from fire authorities and warnings of a possible El Nino are really scaring people."

She said large and intense fires would become the norm unless emissions were reduced this decade.

Members of the organisation travelled from Queensland, Victoria and NSW to attend meetings in Canberra with MPs and senators this week.

They also want a "climate trigger" in the new regulations, requiring a thorough assessment of all such projects against their impact on climate.

Ms Plibersek told parliament on Wednesday she had been the first federal environment minister to refuse a coal mine.

She said she judged all projects according to law, but it was important to remember the government was set on achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 and get to 82 per cent renewable energy.