I express my sincere condolences and sympathies to the families of the firefighters who have so tragically been killed overnight.
They were bravely defending their communities with an unmatched spirit and a dedication that will forever set them apart amongst our most courageous Australians.
Their sacrifice and service saving lives and saving properties will be forever remembered. I wish those injured all the best in their recovery.
Our hearts go out to their families, friends and colleagues who have been working tirelessly beside them, particularly during this Christmas period.
These fires and heat conditions are horrendous, and there are still difficult days ahead, with Saturday predicted to be the most severe day, with extreme temperatures and wind making conditions very difficult for fire crews.
We wish all of those putting themselves in harm’s way for all of us, all the best. Stay safe, stay together.
Know that Australians are deeply grateful. To Australians living in fire-ravaged regions, please heed the warnings of the authorities, and stay safe.
Given these most recent tragic events, I will be returning to Sydney from leave as soon as can be arranged.
The Federal Government stands ready to deploy whatever further assistance State and Territory authorities request to manage this disaster.