• "The scale of this requires a national response, requires national leadership," said Opposition leader Anthony Albanese. (AAP)Source: AAP
Federal opposition leader Anthony Albanese wants all defence assets available to help those affected by bushfires.
Source:
AAP
3 Jan 2020 - 12:19 PM  UPDATED 3 Jan 2020 - 12:19 PM

Federal opposition leader Anthony Albanese has urged Prime Minister Scott Morrison to make all defence assets available to help those affected by bushfires.

Defence forces have been providing refuelling, retardant loading and support services for Rural Fire Service aircraft in NSW. The navy is also evacuating people trapped by bushfires in Mallacoota, eastern Victoria.

Mr Morrison said naval assets were ready "at the request of state agencies", but NSW had not yet requested ADF support for evacuations.

Mr Albanese called on the federal government to be "proactive" and take the necessary action.

"My only concern here is that there seems to be an approach which is that people have to ask for support," Mr Albanese said.

"Certainly I think defence assets, every one of them, at this time should be available.

"This is the scale of what is occurring here, of a mass evacuation. Not from a town, from a region that is bigger than most countries in Europe.

"The scale of this requires a national response, requires national leadership.

"This is not a time to think that it's OK, near enough is good enough. It's a time whereby we need to exhaust every asset at our disposal in order to protect lives."

Aboriginal communities prepare for worsening bushfire conditions
One person has been confirmed dead, and 17 people remain missing in the East Gippsland region. The total death toll for this fire season now stands at nine.