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Defence force stands ready for horror fire days

The United Kingdom’s high commissioner in Canberra confirmed on Friday a team of experts will be sent out to identify ways the UK can help.

The team includes a senior member of the UK Fire and Rescue Service, a medical specialist in trauma and mental health, and a military liaison officer, specialising in crisis response.

“Australia is one of our strongest and oldest friends and we are utterly distraught about the devastation caused by these catastrophic bushfires – including the tragic loss of life and of precious biodiversity,” UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said.

“Despite being on opposite sides of the world, our bond is a close one, and we will do all that is possible to help them respond to and recover from this tragic situation.”

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Mr Morrison was also asked if he accepted community sentiment on climate change has changed due to the bushfires and whether he would bring back the National Energy Guarantee – the energy and emissions reduction policy that brought down Malcolm Turnbull’s leadership.

“I accept that community sentiment today, when we have got extreme and severe fire conditions in New South Wales and Victoria, would have me absolutely 100 per cent focused on ensuring the response effort that may have to roll in with the next 24 hours is ready to go and that I’ve given the order to the Defence Forces to go and get in there,” he said.

“That’s what I believe the community wants me focused on right now.”

Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese said the coalition needed to accept Australia wants a government to do more on climate change.

“It is unsustainable for the government to not have a (climate) policy between now and 2022. If they bring back the National Energy Guarantee that went through the party systems, then that of course will change what our policy is,” he told reporters.

Mr Albanese said Labor had been prepared to support the NEG before the coalition axed it.

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