Labor leader on ‘birthday’ trip to UK during fire crisis
The NSW opposition leader is the latest politician to be missing in action during the state's worst bushfire season on record.
The Daily Telegraph can reveal Jodi McKay - who has been calling for Premier Gladys Berejiklian to take action on climate change and provide more support for the Rural Fire Service (RFS) - is currently on holiday in Scotland.
It comes after Prime Minister Scott Morrison and NSW Emergency Services Minister David Elliott were heavily criticised for taking leave during the bushfire crisis, while Federal Defence Minister Linda Reynolds spent "a few days" in Bali with her family over Christmas.
A spokesman for Ms McKay said the Labor leader was "on a long planned visit to Scotland for her birthday" but was expected back in the country this week.
"The Opposition has no active operational or decision making role during bush fires. However she continues to receive advice about the emergency situation and is in constant contact with the Shadow Ministry about the situation," the spokesman added.
Ms McKay has repeatedly attacked Ms Berejiklian's leadership during the bushfires, which have so far burnt at least 4.9 million hectares in NSW alone.
The Labor leader issued a Tweet last week criticising the Premier for not requesting a joint taskforce with the Australian Defence Force after the first "catastrophic" fire day, adding: "Unbelievable. NSW RFS deserves a Premier who leads not follows".
It has since been announced the army will establish two joint taskforces - one in Victoria and one in NSW - to support firefighting and defence efforts.
While Ms Berejiklian has remained in the state to deliver daily updates on the fires, several members of her cabinet have taken leave over the holiday period including Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional NSW John Barilaro and Treasurer Dominic Perrottet.
Ms Berejiklian yesterday warned there was "no room for complacency" despite cooler weather conditions with the mercury tipped to rise again later this week.