2020 doesn’t just mark the beginning new year but a brand new decade as well. And we enter it with news that the Indian population in Australia has grown 30% in less than two years, making it the third largest migrant group in Australia after England and China. The latest figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics estimates that there are 592,000 Indians living in Australia as of June 2018, a 30% jump compared to Census 2016 figures which recorded 455,389 Indians living in Australia.
New Zealand born is now in fourth place with India in third, accounting for 2.4% of the Australian population.
But just as 2019 was coming to an end, Australia saw one of its most catastrophic disasters—the wildfires that literally engulfed the country in a cloud of smoke. The bushfires burned nearly 5 million hectares of land and Australia saw the hottest and driest season this year with the temperature reaching almost 50 degrees celsius in the last month.
The fires have led to loss of life, property, and according to reports wildlife as well—more than 8,000 koalas, which is approximately 30% per cent of the total population in NSW’s mid-North Coast region have been lost to fire. Ecologists from the University of Sydney believe over 480 million birds, animals and reptiles have already been lost because of the fires.
Now, some indigenous groups have begun to call for ancient traditions of land management to be revived to prevent such disasters.
The Firesticks Alliance for instance, an Indigenous organisation that runs programs with communities across Australia to build recognition of cultural fire management, and to reintroduce it onto lands owned and run by Aboriginal people. The workshops have caught the attention of larger groups like the National Landcare Programs to see the benefits of what Aboriginal people are doing in respect to fire burning and why they do it, when they do it and how they do it. The aim, say the groups, is to restore country to its natural state.