Army on standby to tackle inferno
SCOTT Morrison held an emergency meeting of Cabinet and has put the army on standby to help with the bushfires.
The Prime Minister said he was expecting “worse news” from the fire front as conditions deteriorated, but said all level of governments were working together to respond to the disaster.
“Those who have lost homes, those who are sitting in the smouldering ruins of properties that once stood, they are the ones that Australians will be thinking of,” he said. “I want them to be assured of the kindness, love and support of their fellow Australians and that their governments will be doing everything they can, not just to relieve them from this immediate situation, but to be there in the recovery in the weeks and the months and years ahead.”
Mr Morrison said he was working with Defence Minister Linda Reynolds on “options” to call out reservists to have them working on firebreaks, logistics or catering support for firefighters.
If conditions deteriorate further, Australia could also call on New Zealand firefighters to help tackle blazes across the country.
“These fires will burn for some time. They will hopefully be able to be brought back to a more manageable level but, that said, the fires themselves will continue to present a risk for some weeks to come,” Mr Morrison said.
“We’re expecting very similar conditions in Western Australia over the next few days … down in (the) south and also in the north.
“And if there is a need, other countries like New Zealand, where we’ve provided support to New Zealand, I have no doubt that they will turn up.”
Labor leader Anthony Albanese said he extended his sympathies to Australians who had lost loved ones and property in the bushfires.
“News of lives lost is heartbreaking for the families and communities affected,” he said.