AUSTRALIA has set up a temporary consulate in Houston, Texas, while it waits for US authorities to allow Australian officials into flood devastated New Orleans.
The Parliamentary Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Bruce Billson, said the Government had been urging the United States to let Australian representatives into the disaster area to account for Australians.
Up to two dozen Australians were known to be in the area and more were feared missing in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, he said.
"The American authorities have denied access to any officials from any foreign governments," Mr Billson said in Melbourne.
"We've made it very clear and repeatedly expressed our desire to get into the area as soon as the opportunity is available so we can take account and provide support for Australian citizens.