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Emergency Services, Environment


Climate Media Centre 3 mins read

Wednesday June 7 2023


The Australian Bureau of Meteorology has declared an El Niño Alert, meaning there’s now a 70% chance of an El Niño weather pattern this year. This means a drier, warmer than average winter which is bad news for farmers, fire fighters, skiers and anyone susceptible to heat in our towns and cities. The Bureau says that during El Niño, there is a higher chance of drier weather in eastern Australia and it's more likely to be warmer than usual for the southern two-thirds of Australia. 


The following spokespeople are available for interviews / quotes


Farmers brace for dry conditions 

Pete Mailler, farmer

Location: Goondiwindi, Queensland

Pete Mailler said: “As a business We are completely exposed. We’ve made some conservative cropping choices this year. We’ve had a couple of good years and I’m grateful for those. It buys us some time but it's pretty nerve wracking. We see those extreme events: we’re faster into drought, we’re faster into flood."


Winter sports season pushed back

Sam quirk - Protect Our Winters

Location: Melbourne

Sam Quirk is the Lead Advocate of Protect Our Winters, a group of concerned pro athletes, individuals, resorts and outdoor enthusiasts concerned about the impact of climate change on Australian winters.


Sam Quirk said: “Last year's season opened a week earlier. Just yesterday we had to push our Falls Creek opening back a month. It's not looking good for the beginning of the season.”


“It means there’s less traffic up at the resort. People would have had their accommodation booked, some people might cancel if they can. It’s most impactful for small and local businesses who have had a terribly hard time over the past few years with bushfire and covid. Falls Creek missed most of their past summer mountain bike season due to a landslip on a road. It’s really really rough for the local and small businesses. It’s a real concern.”

Sam Quirk is available between 12 and 2 Wednesday June 7


Bushfires and firefighters

Emergency Leaders for Climate Action members Greg Mullins, former Commissioner of Fire and Rescue NSW (and volunteer firefighter), and Peter Dunn, former Commissioner, ACT Emergency Services Authority
Location: Greg Mullins in Sydney, Peter Dunn on the NSW Illawarra Coast. 

Greg and Peter can talk about the impact of El Nino on the increased fire danger—specifically the above average risk of bushfire in populated areas, and grass fires across the country. They can also share the resources that communities can access for tips on how to stay safe during periods of high fire risk, and how volunteer and full-time firefighters are feeling about the prospect of an intense bushfire season supercharged by El Niño and climate change, after back-to-back periods of Black Summer, and flood recovery work. 


Darin Sullivan, Active Fire Fighter

Location: NSW South Coast 

Darin is a former President of the Fire Brigade Employees’ Union and a professional firefighter with more than 25 years’ experience. He is a strong advocate for firefighters and emergency service workers, with an interest in mental health issues and caring for those around him. 

Darin Sullivan said: “Once again it puts us into an earlier start to the bushfire higher risk season. Rather than October we can see higher risk earlier. 

“The impacts of climate change are longer, drier fire seasons with more intense fires. We saw leading up to the 2020 fires we were seeing fires in some parts of New South Wales in August.”

Contact details:

For interviews with farmer Pete Mailler, firefighter Darin Sullivan and Sam Quirk from Protect Our Winters: contact Jacqui, Climate Media Centre 0498 188 528 

Or Dylan Quinnell 0450 668 350 /


For interviews with Greg Mullins or Peter Dunn from Emergency Leaders for Climate Action, please call Vai, Climate Council 0452 290 082 /

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