Fires 'not due to climate change'
The Australian government has staunchly rejected arguments that wildfires ravaging parts of the country's east following a record hot start to the current spring season are the result of climate change.
The blazes around Sydney in New South Wales state after an extraordinarily dry winter and the hottest September in the region on record have rekindled the climate change debate in Australia and internationally.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott has dismissed as "hogwash" links reported in the media between global warming and the fires that have razed more than 200 homes and resulted in two deaths.
Environment minister Greg Hunt backed his prime minister, saying no individual event could be linked to climate change.