Watersports

Scott Morrison corrected after error during Kangaroo Island tour

Mr Morrison was visiting the bushfire-ravaged island where a leading plastic surgeon in South Australia, died while trying to return to a family property.

Speaking to locals on Wednesday, Mr Morrison made a mistake.

“Well luckily we had no loss of life,” he said.

When he was quickly corrected, he replied, “Yeah two, that’s right. I was thinking firefighters first.”

The coalition is calling on Prime Minister Scott Morrison to tackle climate change with the same level of urgency as the pandemic.

The coalition is calling on Prime Minister Scott Morrison to tackle climate change with the same level of urgency as the pandemic. Source: SBS

A spokesperson for the prime minister said they were discussing firefighting efforts at the time and he was referring to the fact that no firefighters had died on Kangaroo Island.

“He was aware of both deaths and met with one of the relatives of those killed on the island,” the spokesperson said.

This is the latest awkward moment for the Prime Minister whose leadership during the bushfire crisis has been questioned on social media.

Last week he was forced to cut short a visit to Cobargo in New South Wales after residents of the bushfire-affected community shouted abuse at him.

Mr Morrison was also seen grabbing the hand of a firefighter who refused to shake his hand.

Calling vacationers

Mr Morrison used the visit to urge Australians with holiday bookings to give tourism operators affected by the fires a break.

A third of the island has been burned but the rest remains open for business.

“If you have booked accommodation and are now requesting a refund, can you give them a break as to, at the very least, when you might expect to see a refund,” Mr Morrison said. .

A general view of the Flinders Chase Visitor Office after bushfires swept through Kangaroo Island.

The Flinders Chase Visitors’ Office was destroyed when bushfires swept through Kangaroo Island. Source: AAP

Mr Morrison spoke to Kangaroo Island residents affected by the fires before flagging mental health assistance as a priority in the relief effort.

Australian Defense Force psychologists have been deployed across the country to help victims in areas ravaged by the fires.

The Prime Minister has confirmed that Health Minister Greg Hunt is working on a mental health programme.

Federal Emergency Management Minister David Littleproud and the head of the new Bushfire Recovery Agency, Andrew Colvin, are due to visit Victorian communities affected by the Tumut and Sale fires on Thursday.

Mr Littleproud said he will announce a bushfire support program for small businesses, including interest-free loans of up to $500,000 with no repayment for two years.

Twenty-six people have been killed, millions of acres have burned and thousands of homes have been destroyed in this bushfire season.

With the AAP.