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Those who helped out in response to last summer’s devastating bushfires between September 2019 and February 2020 may be eligible for the National Emergency Medal with the Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia, His Excellency General the Honourable David Hurley AC DSC (Ret’d), declaring it a nationally significant emergency.

Minister for Defence Personnel Darren Chester said thousands of people came to the aid of Australians in need as part of the bushfire response, including Australian Defence Force (ADF) personnel, emergency services workers, volunteers and international defence contingents.

“We will be forever grateful to those who answered the call and came to assist communities in need, including to those in my electorate of Gippsland,” Mr Chester said.

“This medal is just one way this service will be recognised and each person who helped, thanked.

“It will also be available to those overseas personnel who assisted during the crisis, which includes defence contingents from New Zealand, Singapore, Japan, the United States, Papua New Guinea, Fiji and Canada.

“This would be a fitting tribute to thank them for their assistance and is something I advocated for on behalf of impacted communities in Gippsland.

“I would encourage all those who assisted as part of the bushfires to look at the criteria and submit a nomination through their organisation.”

Emergency services workers, including volunteers, who directly responded to the emergency in 108 Local Government Areas can now be nominated for the National Emergency Medal.

The National Emergency Medal, established in 2011, is an operational service medal in the Australian Honours System awarded to first responders to emergencies that are deemed nationally significant. Until recently, that’s included the 2009 Victorian bushfires, and the 2010-11 floods and Cyclone Yasi in Queensland, Tropical Cyclone Debbie in 2017 and the 2019 North Queensland Floods.

You can read the Governor-General’s announcement at Bushfire 2019-20 responders now eligible for National Emergency Medal. More information on the National Emergency Medal is available on the It’s an Honour website.

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