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Australia: Fires

Foreign and Commonwealth Office written question – answered on 27th January 2020.

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Photo of Chris Matheson Chris Matheson Shadow Minister (Cabinet Office)

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what progress has been made by the team of specialists from defence, health and fire sent by his Department to Australia to assess what support to provide to emergency responders tackling bushfires.

Photo of Heather Wheeler Heather Wheeler The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs

As I (Minister Wheeler) set out in my Oral Statement of 9 January, we deployed a team of UK experts to Australia, including a senior member of UK Fire and Rescue Service, a medical specialist in trauma and mental health, and a military liaison officer specialising in crisis response. The team returned to the UK on 16 January having engaged closely with Australian counterparts.

Drawing on the team's findings we are working to establish what further UK support would be of most use to the Australian authorities, and ensure that any such contributions are appropriate to Australia's needs. At this stage the Australian government has made no specific requests for assistance.

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