Published 8 February 2008

THE FOLLOWING STATEMENT IS ISSUED BY THE PRESS SECRETARY TO THE QUEEN

I was shocked and saddened to learn of the terrible toll being exacted by the fires this weekend. I send my heartfelt condolences to the families of all those who have died and my deep sympathy to the many who have lost their homes in this disaster.

On so dreadful an occasion as this for Australia, the firefighters and other emergency services have been making extraordinary efforts to contain the situation and tend to those who have been injured. Please also convey to them my renewed admiration for all that they are doing.

ELIZABETH R