International donations for Australian disaster relief

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The Australian government says its been inundated with good wishes and offers of help from around the world, in response to the Victorian bushfires.

Our Canberra correspondent, Linda Mottram, says Australia’s prime minister and foreign minister have both spoken of the vast number of expressions of condolence and offers of help.

Among the most recent offers, accepted by Australia, is a million dollars from Indonesia to help re-build schools in the fire zones.

It’s understood Indonesia’s government asked what assistance Australia needed.

Australia, noting its program of school building in Indonesia, suggested the reciprocal offer would be appropriate.

Canberra is trying to prioritse needs and some offers of help may be called on at a later date.

Foreign minister Stephen Smith has spoken to counterparts from countries as far afield as Iran, the UAE and India, among others.

He says Australia’s prides itself on being there for other nations in need, and it’s lifted Australia’s spirits that others are now coming to Australia’s aid.

PNG Help

Papua New Guinea’s Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare says he hopes his government’s decision to donate $US1.3 million to the Australian government for disaster relief will strenghten the bond between the two countries.

The money is to be divided equally between the state of Queensland which has been devastated by floods after tropical Cyclone Ellie hit earlier this month and bush-fire ravaged Victoria.

Mr Somare says he is making the donation in recognition of the numerous times the Australia Government and people have stood by PNG in its times of need.

He has also committed almost $38,000 US dollars to the Solomon Island Government to help victims affected by the recent floods.