The NSW government is not shying away from talking about climate change but for now must focus on protecting life during the state's bushfire emergency, Premier Gladys Berejiklian says.
The state's leader said she is not sorry for prioritising "keeping people alive", over discussing potential links between global warming and the unprecedented fires ravaging NSW.
Both Ms Berejiklian and Prime Minister Scott Morrison have dodged questions on the issue in recent days.
Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack went further, labelling the behaviour of those linking the fires to climate change as "disgraceful" and "disgusting".
Ms Berejiklian, who said she believes in climate change, branded questions on the topic at the minute "disappointing", but added that the discussion will be had sometime in the future.
"We just want everyone to focus on protecting life and property and of course we'll have those discussions. We've never shied away from those," she told ABC News on Monday night.
"But when you face people who are protesting I often say to them 'Well, why don't you help out people who have just lost everything?' Let's have these discussions another day."
She said the immediate priority is helping people in affected areas, adding: "I don't apologise for expressing that sentiment".
Glen Innes Severn Council mayor Carol Sparks - whose home was severely damaged in a bushfire that killed two people - said the prime minister's response when asked about climate change at the weekend was "unbelievable".
"It's climate change, there's no doubt about it. The whole of the country is going to be affected. We need to take a serious look at our future," she told AAP.
She later told ABC: "It's not a political thing - it's a scientific fact."
"Of course it's not relevant at the moment when people's houses are burning and you've lost lives and you've lost friends and you've lost family," the mayor said.
"But the overall thing is we are so dry in this country - we haven't had rain for years in some places. We need to look at what we're going to do about that in the future.
"To deny climate change is, to me, a very ill-informed and uneducated way of looking at things."
Australian Associated Press
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