PM calls for patience during bushfires

Prime Minister Scott Morrison speaks during a press conference. Picture: Jenny Evans/Getty Images
Prime Minister Scott Morrison speaks during a press conference. Picture: Jenny Evans/Getty Images

PRIME Minister Scott Morrison has called for Australians to be patient during the bushfires gripping the country.

“My simple request is to be patient, to have confidence in the state agencies,” Mr Morrison told media in Sydney on Thursday.

“I understand the anxiety and I understand the fear that is there for many and I understand the frustration, but this is a natural disaster.”

Mr Morrison pointed to the federal government’s existing efforts, including disaster relief payments and deploying defence personnel, as the action it was taking to help during the fires.

“What you cannot have in these situations is governments stepping over the top of each other in responding to a natural disaster like this,” he said.

“What we are saying is we cannot control the natural disaster but what we can do is control our response.”

Rural Fire Service firefighters battle a spot fire in Hillville, NSW. Picture: Sam Mooy/Getty Images

Mr Morrison also said more needed to be done to reduce fuel loads and to address issues surrounding hazard reduction burns.

He said the National Security Committee would meet on Monday to discuss the bushfire.

The prime minister also called on Australians in bushfire areas to be patient and calm to help those fighting the blazes.

He said the NSW government had not asked for help in the South Coast region as the roads had been reopened.

Mr Morrison also defended the federal government’s climate change policies and said many factors contributed to the bushfires.

“The drought has created a tinder box around the country and that has, through various forms of ignition, has seen these fires run for long periods of time.”

He said no single climate policy would insure against bushfires and the government was working on beating its carbon emissions targets.

A CFA member during catastrophic fire conditions in NSW. Picture: Brett Hemmings/Getty Images

Federal Labor leader Anthony Albanese said that was only because of an accounting trick by using “carry-over credits” and Australia needed to show global leadership.

“Australia has an interest in being strong advocates for greater global action, not being a handbrake,” Mr Albanese said.

When it came to the bushfires, Mr Albanese said the prime minister had taken a business-as-usual approach.

“This is certainly not business-as-usual,” Mr Albanese said.

“People can now smell it, see it, feel it.”

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