Bega Valley Shire councillor Jo Dodds has thrown her support behind Greenpeace's call on Prime Minister Scott Morrison to declare a "climate emergency" during a protest at the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge.
Cr Dodds was in Sydney in support of the protest, which saw banners reading "100% renewables" and "make coal history" hung from the bridge by activists between 6am and 9am on Tuesday morning.
This is a new level of horror. We don't have the resources to fight it so we need action now.Bega Valley Shire councillor Jo Dodds
During last year's March bushfire Cr Dodds said watching people running barefoot to safety while she stood by the river bank as the bushfire quickly approached her home, has driven her to push the government for action on coal and climate change.
"We're seeing increasingly intense bushfires, and longer bushfire seasons than ever before in Australia. This is driven by climate change - and coal is the number one cause of climate change in Australia," Cr Dodds said.
"I think the Prime Minister has been captured by the fossil fuel industries and is not governing for the people.
"Because communities like ours see a direct relationship between investment in coal and a threat to our homes.
"For the government to be listening to that one sector, and to be promoting that ongoing mining and burning of coal is an absolute insult to the families who are increasingly put at risk - their lives are put at risk - by this activity.
"It's my number one enemy now because I've seen what it does. I don't want families in the ground, I want coal in the ground."
According to police, 13 people, including specialist trained climbers, were arrested after bridge security staff noticed several people on the bridge at 5.15am on Friday morning.
"A number of people were detained by security personnel, but others were able to climb under the structure," police said.
The protesters were taken to Surry Hills and Day Street Police Stations to assist police with their inquiries.
Greenpeace Australia Pacific CEO David Ritter said Australians from across the country were at the site to show their support.
"Our political leaders must listen to those already affected by climate disaster and act," he said.
"Burning coal is the number one cause of climate change in Australia - but politicians from both major parties have no plan for making coal history, even though they know it puts our health, our homes and our families at risk. We're here today to say 'no more'.
"Rural and regional Australian families have borne the brunt of climate impacts so far in this country.
"Today Australians who have survived climate disasters have come to the centre of Sydney to demand action because they are sick of being ignored."
Cr Dodds said the March 2018 bushfire occurred in "unprecedented" weather conditions and the Yankees Gap bushfire began unusually in winter.
"That's what the firies keep telling us that weather conditions during these bushfires are unprecedented and only going to get worse," she said.
"I don't want to see families out of their homes and running barefoot from fires.
"This is a new level of horror. We don't have the resources to fight it so we need action now."