Australians are being urged to prepare for a season of punishing bushfires and damaging rains.
Significant grass and vegetation growth and above-average temperatures have created the potential for a devastating fire season across southern parts of Australia.
In the north, La Nina conditions threaten to create damaging storms, cyclones and floods.
Emergency Management Minister David Littleproud is urging people to fortify their defences in case of disasters over summer.
“While we can work with authorities to properly prepare, it’s also critical families, households and individuals do what they can to prepare themselves,” he said on Friday.
“By planning ahead, people can reduce the risk of injury and damage to property.”
Speaking to a royal commission, former director-general of emergency management, Mark Crosweller, was unflinching in his assessment of the nation’s readiness for bushfires and floods.
“We are going to lose things in these events. No one want to think about these things, but it is still a reality,” he said.
The 2019-20 bushfire season saw hundreds of blazes, mainly in the south-east of the country, that destroyed more than 5,900 buildings and killed at least 34 people.