Australian PM, Scott Morrison defends bushfire crisis response

Last Updated: Jan 06 2020 17:33
Reading time: 0 mins, 58 secs

MELBOURNE:- On Sunday, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison found himself defending his actions again in response to the country's unprecedented bushfires crisis that has killed 24 people and left thousands more homeless.

Morrison, who has been under sustained attack since he went on vacation to Hawaii as the crisis escalated, blamed a "breakdown in communications" for a state fire chief's complaint he was blindsided by Morrison's plan to set up a national bushfire recovery agency. 

New South Wales (NSW) state Rural Fire Services Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons said he found out about the new agency through media reports on Saturday, creating confusion as he coordinated one of the most high-risk days in the crisis.

"I was disappointed and I was frustrated in the middle of what was one of our worst (fire) days ever on record with massive dislocation and movement of people and a focus on really difficult weather," Fitzsimmons told journalists on Sunday.

Morrison said the creation of the national agency, along with the deployment of naval ships and aircraft to help evacuate people who have been stranded by fires for days, was not a reflection on the performance of the state agencies, who had done "extraordinary work."