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After horror six months, Australia’s bushfire season comes to an end


After horror six months, Australia’s bushfire season comes to an end

bushfire australia
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The 2019-20 Australian bushfire season will officially end today.

The fires this season have consumed more than 12.6 million hectares of land across the country. The most visible impact has been on the wildlife—an estimated one billion animals have been killed, with some species possibly driven to extinction. Air quality at times worsened to record-high hazardous levels, and carbon dioxide emissions from the fires were estimated at 434 million tonnes.

Economically, the cost of the bushfires have exceeded $2.6 billion and tourism revenues have fallen by more than $612 million. Coupled with the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, Australia is predicted to enter a recession in the first two quarters of the fiscal year, and the unemployment rate is predicted to increase to 12%.

The Australian government’s $10.8 billion fiscal stimulus packages to counter the effects of the pandemic target low-income individuals and small- and medium-sized businesses. The Reserve Bank of Australia has lowered the cash rate to 0.25%, and is employing quantitative easing to boost money flow in the economy. Tourism is likely to be a target sector for assistance once the pandemic crisis is dealt with.

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Independent investigations to assess states’ emergency preparedness and response are expected to review current policies ahead of the next bushfire season. Considering the ecological impact of the fires, research is likely to focus on understanding the cause behind the persistence of the fires, as political debate about the role of climate change continues.

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