NSW premier accepts fires 'unprecedented'

Protesters in Sydney demand governments take real action to reduce carbon emissions.
Protesters in Sydney demand governments take real action to reduce carbon emissions.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has accepted the bushfires ravaging the state are "unprecedented" but climate activists rallying in Sydney don't believe political leaders are taking the issue seriously enough.

The premier in November said it was "inappropriate" to discuss the link between climate change and the bushfire crisis while fires were raging - but has since changed her tune.

Ms Berejiklian on Sunday acknowledged NSW was in "uncharted territory".

"We can't pretend this is something we have experienced before - it's not," she told reporters when asked about United Kingdom travel advice warning tourists visiting Australia to "stay safe".

"The weather activity we're seeing, the extent and spread of the fires, the speed at which they're going, the way in which they're attacking communities who've never ever seen fire before, is unprecedented. We have to accept that."

The premier said she was not surprised other nations were looking at the Australian disaster.

About 100 protesters rallied in Sydney's CBD on Sunday morning demanding governments take real action to reduce carbon emissions.

Local Alex Coburn was holding a sign that stated: "Can we talk about the climate emergency yet?"

The 43-year-old research analyst said climate change was an existential threat that required immediate action.

"But the two major parties are beholden to the fossil fuel industry - especially the Liberal-National coalition," he told AAP.

"The only course of action we have left to us is mass civil disobedience."

Mr Coburn said scientists and environmental organisations had been raising the alarm since the 1970s without success.

Politicians heading off on holiday as Australia burned was indicative of their "complacency and their failure to act", he argued.

He accused Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who had been on a family holiday to Hawaii, of "neglecting his duties as the leader and prime minister of the country to protect the public".

Fifteen-year-old Leticia Stevenson, who attended the rally organised by Extinction Rebellion, wanted to raise awareness of the damage being caused by climate change and held up a sign stating: "I've seen smarter cabinets at Ikea."

Leticia said political leaders were now trying to take some action "but it's not enough".

"We need to have a stronger government to help with the ongoing effect of climate change," she told AAP.

Other people at the protest held signs stating: "There is no planet B" and "Our babies deserve a future".

Australian Associated Press