David Elliott, the NSW Emergency Services Minister who was on holiday in Europe this week as catastrophic fires burned across the state, has finally returned to Australia.
Mr Elliott received a briefing from RFS Deputy Commissioner Rob Rogers on Friday evening evening – a fact he revealed on Facebook.
“My absence over the last week was inexcusable. I should have put my RFS family first and foremost given the current conditions (even my own family acknowledge that) and now it’s time to get back to work,” he conceded.
Some would say it’s well past time.
Mr Elliott announced he would cut his holiday to the UK and France short on Wednesday after a devastating day of fires that killed three people in 24 hours, including a volunteer firefighter.
“In light of the escalating damage toll to the South Coast and the tragic loss of a further two civilians and one RFS volunteer, I have decided to return to Australia to stand with our selfless volunteer firefighters and bushfire affected communities as we get through this period of devastating loss,” he said in a statement at the time.
His initial decision to leave the country came less than a week after Prime Minister Scott Morrison apologised for taking his own family on a Christmas break to Hawaii.