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Thursday, 25 June 1998
Page: 5422

Mr HOWARD (Prime Minister) (2:00 PM) —On indulgence, I express to the Australian community the concern that the government, and I know the opposition, feel about the impact of the floods, particularly but not only in East Gippsland. My colleague the member for Gippsland (Mr McGauran) has been in touch with the Deputy Prime Minister (Mr Tim Fischer), conveying to him in first-hand detail some of the impact of that devastation. I spoke last night to the member for Patterson (Mr Bob Baldwin), who described in detail the impact of the weather and the floods in his electorate.

I know that all Australians are particularly reminded at this time of the vulnerability of rural people to the vicissitudes of the seasons. There is something particularly heart-wrenching about somebody who has just passed out of drought now having their livelihood destroyed by flood. It does drive home to all of us the extraordinary vulnerability of these men and women on the land.