Labor leader Anthony Albanese says the Council of Australian Governments has not met and there has been no opportunity to properly coordinate a national response to the bushfires.
In Hobart, during his first visit to the state in 2020 on Sunday, he said there should have been a national response much earlier than Scott Morrison's January 4 announcement of 3000 Australian Defence Force reservists help.
He said since November Labor had been calling for a meeting of the COAG to organise a national response to the emergency but it had not met yet.
"The fact is, that there should have been a national response much earlier and there is a lot of precedent for our Defence Forces pitching in to help at times of crisis," he said.
"Whether it be bushfires in the past, whether it be floods, throughout many years, the fact is the ADF reserves and personnel have helped out.
"This is a national issue..there's been no opportunity to sit down and properly coordinate a national response.
"The fact is, that bushfires don't recognise state and territory boundaries and nor should the need for national leadership."
IN OTHER NEWS:
The COAG is an intergovernmental forum comprising of the federal government, six state governments, two territory governments and the Australian Local Government Association (local council association). It meets to debate and co-ordinate government activities between all levels of Australian government.
Mr Albanese also called on the government to look at the impact on first responders and for more support to be given in schools to young people dealing with the impact of the fires.
He said there was concerns over support packages for volunteer firefighters as some may miss out and communities on the mainland's south coast being denied disaster relief payments because of 'inaccurate maps from Centrelink'.
"The fact that they are saying that it's only normal work hours, so that if a volunteer firefighter has helped out from 11pm to 7am in the morning, they're not less deserving of support than if they were on daytime shifts, which is their normal pattern of work," he said.
"Because it obviously is impossible for them to work around the clock even though we know, and I've met, volunteer firefighters who have literally worked for 24 hours straight, fighting fires."
"The second point is we want to make sure that any inquiry, be it a Royal Commission or otherwise, can look at the impact of climate change, that that can't be just deferred."
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