Anthony Albanese is due to fly back into Australia late on Tuesday after his trip around Europe and will visit flooded areas of Sydney on Thursday morning.
The prime minister, who has spent a third of his time in power overseas, faced criticism from senior Liberals Dan Tehan and Angus Taylor for being away so much while floods hit NSW at the weekend.
Treasurer Jim Chalmers defended Mr Albanese on Tuesday morning, insisting that his trips to France and Ukraine were essential.
But shadow treasurer Angus Taylor said he wasn’t doing enough.
‘It was flooding for 48 hours Luke and [the Prime Minister] has only just picked up the phone to Dominic Perrottet to ask if he needs a hand,’ Mr Taylor told 2GB.
‘There’s 30,000 people who have been told to evacuate their homes but the PM is more concerned about his reputation on the global stage than… making sure people in NSW have a place to sleep.’
Anthony Albanese (pictured) is due to arrive in Canberra late on Tuesday after attending a NATO leaders summit in Spain and making side trips to France and Ukraine
The prime minister (pictured, left) was briefed by phone soon after clearing war-torn Ukraine on Monday AEST on the situation in NSW, where tens of thousands have been evacuated and thousands of homes deluged
The federal government is considering more requests from NSW to support flood-affected communities.
Mr Albanese also spoke to NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet, who has declared a natural disaster triggering the release of a range of payments and loans for individuals and businesses.
‘He will be on the ground here later in the week,’ Acting Prime Minister Richard Marles, who was speaking from flood-affected Richmond in northwest Sydney, told Nine Network on Tuesday.
Mr Albanese could tour the region with Mr Perrottet as soon as Thursday.
Opposition frontbencher and Nationals leader David Littleproud told Nine that NSW must be given all the resources it needs to help people.
Mr Albanese also spoke to NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet, who has declared a natural disaster triggering the release of a range of payments and loans for individuals and businesses (pictured, flood-affected Richmond on the outskirts of Sydney)
Asked about the ‘optics’ of Mr Albanese being overseas when the crisis began on Sunday, Treasurer Jim Chalmers said he had been working with the NSW government.
He said the overseas trips were essential.
‘But… there’s been a lot of work that’s been necessary amongst our international partners because a lot of those relationships were run down,’ Mr Chalmers told Nine.
‘This important work on the international stage hasn’t prevented us from advancing our agenda here at home.’
The federal government has so far committed 200 defence personnel to help with the emergency, along with two helicopters, after a request by the NSW government.
The federal government has so far committed 200 defence personnel to help with the emergency, along with two helicopters, after a request by the NSW government (pictured, Windsor in NSW flooded after constant heavy rainfall)
‘There are further requests that we are looking at right now, so it is an evolving situation,’ Mr Marles said.
‘We have been very mindful, firstly, of the need to coordinate with NSW.’
Mr Marles said he spoke on Monday night with Mr Perrottet who was ‘very pleased with the degree of coordination’.
For many of the communities affected, this is the fourth damaging flood event in less than 18 months.
Scores of evacuation orders and warnings have been declared, mostly northwest of Sydney, where major flooding is occurring along the Hawkesbury and Nepean rivers.
The disaster funds will be funnelled to people in 23 local government areas in Greater Sydney and surrounding regions.
On Wednesday Mr Albanese fired off a series of tweets about what he is doing to address the deadly flooding in NSW after he copped criticism for continuing his tour of France and Ukraine while the crisis hit.
The Prime Minister has spent one third of his time in office – 15 out of 43 days – overseas so far, sparking criticism from the Opposition on Monday that he was absent while his government faced a domestic crisis.
Mr Albanese said that he was only allowed to switch his phone back on and receive briefings from his emergency management minister and the NSW Premier after returning to Poland from Ukraine.
He had his phone off as a security measure while in the war-torn country visiting President Zelensky on Sunday.
Anthony Albanese (pictured with President Zelensky in Ukraine) has been briefed on the deadly flooding in NSW after he copped criticism for being in France and Ukraine while the crisis hit
As he crossed into Poland from Ukraine this morning, the Prime Minister was allowed to switch on his phone and receive briefings from the Emergency Management Minister and the NSW Premier
Mr Albanese tweeted: ‘Have crossed into Poland from Ukraine and left radio silence. My first actions were briefings by @murraywatt and @Dom_Perrottet on NSW flooding and ensuring Federal Government assistance is being provided.
‘It’s a constantly changing situation. Check @NSWSES and @BOM_NSW for the latest advice and please stay safe.’
The heavy rain which pounded NSW has killed one man and caused thousands of home evacuations in Greater Sydney. The federal government has provided 200 ADF troops so far.
The prime minister has been away since last Sunday on official trips to a NATO leaders’ summit in Spain, a meeting with President Emmanuel Macron in Paris and a high-security trip to Kyiv to meet Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
Despite all the trips being official business, some Aussies took to social media to say he should be addressing issues at home instead, as hashtags ‘Airbus Albo’ and ‘Where’s Albo’ trended on Twitter and others labelled him ‘Anthony Overseasy’.
Since winning the election on May 21, Mr Albanese has travelled more than 45,000km on trips to Japan, Indonesia, the UAE, Spain, France, Poland and Ukraine where, on Sunday, he announced a further $100million of Australian taxpayer-funded military aid would be given to Ukraine.
The federal government has provided 200 ADF troops (pictured in north-west Sydney on Monday)