Hot topic that’s set to derail PM’s speech

PRIME Minister Scott Morrison will flag a significant shake-up of national emergency and bushfire protocols, but it will be overshadowed by the political disaster engulfing his minister Bridget McKenzie.

As pressure mounts on Ms McKenzie to go over the $100 million sports grant scandal, Mr Morrison gave his clearest sign of displeasure yesterday, failing to endorse her future in Cabinet.

While Mr Morrison's National Press Club speech in Canberra will be focused on bushfire recovery, Australia's response to world events and the economy, pressure is mounting for him to take action on the embattled deputy Nationals leader.

The latest developments revealed that when sport minister the senator approved a $36,000 grant for the Wangaratta Clay Target Club just four days after joining.

It also emerged yesterday Sport Australia raised concerns directly with the minister's office just weeks before the federal election was called about the handling of the grants program.

When asked about Senator McKenzie's future yesterday, Mr Morrison failed to endorse her continued place in the Cabinet.

"We have a process which I'm following, and she remains in the Cabinet," he said.

"I initiated that process well over a week ago now, and I'll wait to receive the report."

A review into Senator McKenzie's conduct with the sports grants, conducted by Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet secretary Philip Gaetjens, was ordered almost two weeks ago.

Mr Morrison said he had not received it yet.

The Prime Minister will today announced that any royal commission into the bushfires will audit implementations of previous recommendations to make sure lessons are learned from previous disasters.

Deputy Nationals leader Bridget McKenzie
Deputy Nationals leader Bridget McKenzie

"Too often the findings from these inquiries are forgotten or de-prioritised over time," he will say.

"As the years pass, the bush grows back and fuel loads increase, people move in still larger numbers to live in fire-prone areas and dangerous fires occur again in a cycle which must be broken."

He will also flag "enhanced national accountability" for natural disaster risk management.

"This should include the setting of targets and transparent reporting on key actions, with enhanced national standards where necessary," Mr Morrison will say.

It puts backburning targets on the table, after the Prime Minister earlier this month suggested "naming and shaming" states which fail to meet hazard reduction targets.