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Australian bushfire National Emergency Medals go international

Those who responded to last summer’s devastating bushfires between may be eligible for the National Emergency Medal. Source: Timberbiz

It follows the Governor-General David Hurley declaring the fires between September and February a nationally significant emergency.

Defence Personnel Minister Darren Chester said thousands of people came to the aid of Australians in need as part of the bushfire response, including Australian Defence Force 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,” Mr Chester said.

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

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 has 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.

More information on the National Emergency Medal is available on the It’s an Honour website at