Albanese pushes for state and federal meeting on fires
Prime Minister Scott Morrison must bring forward a meeting of federal, state and territory governments scheduled for March to deal with Australia's bushfire crisis, Labor leader Anthony Albanese says.
The federal opposition leader says the meeting must address the development of a new national strategy for disaster preparedness and the appropriate funding by state and federal governments for emergency services.
"He can do three things immediately, which is to bring forward the COAG meeting, meet the former fire chiefs, and do something now to provide support for those volunteer firefighters who have been in the field for such a long time," Mr Albanese said in Sydney on Monday.
Mr Morrison said on Sunday that the Council of Australian Governments meeting would go ahead in March.
"I have already put on the agenda the response capabilities for future diasters and lessons, of course, will be learned by these responses," he said.
But Mr Albanese said COAG must be convened sooner.
"This is a national issue that requires some form of national coordination and national leadership," he said.
He said support, particularly for volunteer firefighters who have been in the field for months, is an issue for all governments, but the federal government must be the coordinating body.