Australia

Federal cabinet meets to discuss long-term response to bushfires

Prime Minister Scott Morrison (right) speaks to Emergency ADF National Support Co-ordinator Major General Justin Ellwood. Source: AAP

Senior federal cabinet ministers are meeting to discuss the details of the new national bushfire recovery agency led by former Australian Federal Police chief Andrew Colvin.

The federal government is being careful not to put a dollar estimate on how much the bushfire emergency will cost.

Reconstructing bridges, roads and critical infrastructure destroyed by the blazes is expected to cost hundreds of millions of dollars.

Ahead of a cabinet meeting in Canberra, Emergency Management Minister David Littleproud was reluctant to put an exact figure on the funding envelope.

'Money out the door as quickly as we can'

"Obviously after cabinet, if cabinet approves it, we will put in place a mechanism to get that money out the door as quickly as we can," he told the ABC.

Scott Morrison has pledged to commit "everything that is needed and more" to the recovery effort.

The states will not be asked to match the federal government's funding.

0:00
Two people missing in NSW as fires burn
Two people missing in NSW as fires burn


The prime minister will on Monday launch the government's national bushfire recovery agency, to be led by former Australian Federal Police commissioner Andrew Colvin.

The agency will offer income support to farmers, small business owners and residents affected by the fires.

'Dead livestock a biosecurity risk'

Farmers who lost stock in the fires will be an urgent priority.

Hundreds of thousands of animals are believed to have died in fires that have ravaged parts of the country for many weeks.

"We will be trying to take pre-emptive steps today with state agencies around making sure the disposal of the livestock is done quickly - there is a biosecurity risk there," Mr Littleproud said.

"We have to think about our native species that have been decimated by the fires, too, in terms of our recovery."

Cabinet ministers will also consider mental health supports.

"We won't be just rebuilding infrastructure, we want to rebuild lives," Mr Littleproud said.

Stay up to date with SBS NEWS

  • App
  • Subscribe
  • Follow
  • Listen
  • Watch