The Prime Minister, the Foreign Secretary and the Minister for the Commonwealth, the UN and South Asia have been in contact with their Australian counterparts to offer condolences and stress the UK’s readiness to help. Furthermore, the UK’s high commission and consulates general are in close contact with Australian authorities at federal and state level.
The Australian Government have agreed an offer by the Foreign Secretary to deploy an expert support and assessment team of specialists from defence, health and fire. The team will include a senior member of the UK fire and rescue service, a medical specialist in trauma and mental health, and a military liaison officer. The team will work with Australian colleagues to establish the types, extent and duration of support that will be of most use to Australian emergency responders, and ensure that such contributions are fully integrated with Australian efforts. The specialists will liaise with regional co-ordinators as well as with the central Australian Government.
I am grateful to the Australian authorities for the timely and professional advice they are providing to help keep British visitors to Australia safe. I also pay tribute to the heroism and professionalism of Australia’s emergency services, many of whom are volunteers, and some of whom have lost their lives as they tackle an unprecedented level of bushfire destruction. The stories of valour that are coming out of Australia, which we have seen in the media and on an individual level, have been deeply moving.
We stand shoulder to shoulder in solidarity with the people of Australia and are ready to help in whatever way they need, reflecting the deep ties between our countries.