Australia's minister for natural disasters has backed new coal mines in Queensland even though he accepts fossil fuels are driving extreme weather events.
David Littleproud says the nation's disaster recovery bill is forecast to hit $39 billion by 2050 and climate change is major contributor to weather-related disasters.
In an interview on ABC radio on Wednesday, the cabinet minister was asked if it was a responsible course of action to open up new thermal coal mines in Queensland's Galilee Basin.
"Definitely," he replied.
"You can invest in coal-fired technology and reduce emissions. You can do that.
"There's less emissions from our coal than other coals from around the world, and we're exporting a lot of that to India."
He says plenty of work is being done, in parallel, to develop renewable energy in Australia and make sure the nation is building disaster-resilient infrastructure.
Mr Littleproud also discussed the looming bushfire season, saying there are concerns it could be another bad one, particularly in Queensland which experienced unprecedented fires last year.
"While we are in drought, there's been some rain," he said.
"But if it stays dry, we're really concerned about the fire season."
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk blamed climate change for creating the fire crisis.
State Fire and Emergency Services Minister Craig Crawford has received a report on the fires, but it's yet to be released.
Meanwhile, the state government has denied its land clearing restrictions have stopped landholders from reducing fire risks on their properties.
Australian Associated Press