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Live. The day of reckoning for

Rockhampton with floodwaters due to hit their peak. More

rainfall in Central Queensland

next week. A senior Pakistani points to another flood crisis

politician who spoke out against blasphemy laws is

killed by his own

bodyguard. And the former Australian captain Steve Waugh immortalised at the SCG. It

really sums up, I guess, what

it was all about. Hello and welcome to ABC Australia. I'm Brigid welcome to ABC News across

Glanville. On the local share

market:

More finance later in the

bulletin. It's D-day for the flood-ravaged Queensland city

of Rockhampton. The Fitzroy River is due to peak today, River is

inundating hundreds more homes

and businesses and forcing more

people to seek shelter with

friends and family or at the

local evacuation centre. If the

reached the airport and the predicted flood peak of 9.4m

highways to the south and west

could possibly be closed for

weeks. From the air, parts

Rockhampton look like an inland

sea. It's the day residents and

emergency service workers have been waiting for and fearing.

The flooded Fitzroy River is

supposed to reach its predicted

peak. We still are expecting a

peak of 9.4 some time later

break the 1991 record but falls today. If it does, it will

short of the 1918 mark. 9.4m would increase the number of

homes inundated to 400, while 4,000 properties would have water flowing through water flowing through their

yards. It would force even more

to stay at the evacuation

centre or with family and

friends. The airport remains

closed and the highway to the

south has been cut off by floodwater for days. Food and

other essentials are still

being brought in by road from

the north. We haven't run short

on supplies. Tonnes more has

been flown to Mackay by

Hercules from Amberley near

Brisbane. Two barges have also

been ferrying extra supplies to

the local supermarkets.

Whatever happens later today,

authorities expect the water to

remain above major flood levels

for more than a week. Further

south, floodwaters are racing

towards the town towards the town of St George

which is bracing for major

flooding. The threat has been

compounded overnight with more

rain and even more storms

predicted for this afternoon.

About 3,000 people live in St About 3,000 people live

George and authorities are predicting

predicting 80% of the town

could be inundated next week

when the Balonne River peaks.

Authorities are confident they

will save all but 30 houses

with the elderly evacuated from

the nurses home. Premier Anna

Bligh called an emergency

meeting this morning to discuss

the flood crisis which has

already cost 10 lives and

inundated or cut off 23 towns

and cities. The economic cost

has been estimated in the

billions with the clean-up and

psychological effects expected

to last for weeks or months to

come. ABC reporter George Roberts is in Rockhampton.

George, as we've heard, it's

D-day, has the Fitzroy River

peaked there yet? No, actually

it stayed fairly static

overnight but there is still a

phenomenal amount of water

headed towards Rockhampton.

It's at about 9.2m at the moment but authorities are

still preparing for that peak

of 9.4 some time today. When it

does reach that peak, it will

steak at the peak for a couple

of days and it's still going to stay at more for about 10 days and there

will still be significant

flooding here for at least two weeks. Despite that, authorities say that the worst

is over and they're now moving towards looking at recovery. That's the main focus from here

on in. How are the people

coping and what has been put in

place to help them? Well, there

about is an evacuation centre and

about 122 people stayed there

overnight. About 500 people all

up have been evacuated from

their homes but most of those

have stayed with friends and

family. There is also an

emergency support services network open and that provides

things like Centrelink, like

counselling, like access to government services, all those

sorts of things that are there

distress of having to evacuate to help people get through

their homes, and also for the

unknown quantity of not knowing

what is going to happen when

they get back to their homes

and find the true measure of

the damage. You mentioned that

they're now in recovery mode.

How long will it be before

Rockhampton is back on its

feet? Well, the Rockhampton

mayor Brad Carter says this to a year for this community to

recover. As fast as - far as

this area goes, the major

problem for Rockhampton is the

water on the airport. There is

airport a lot of water still on the

airport and as long as that

stays there, that could

increase the cost of the

because of erosion to the recovery for the council

runway. They're hoping that water levels drop there

quickly. Aside from that area,

thousands of kilometres have

been washed away, have been

eroded by floodwaters and the

problem here for the council is

be able to cope with fixing up all that infrastructure.

Obviously there is the Obviously there is the railway

system for the mining, for the

coal exports to come through as

well that needs to be

then after that there are the

farmers, too, that also have to

clear up and patch up their

properties and put all that infrastructure back in place. So there is a big clean-up effort here to go. George

Roberts, thank you. Police have warned people to stay away from

the flood-ravaged town of

Condamine on Queensland's

Western Darling Downs. About 60 inundated when the worst floods

in the town's history hit late

last week. Most residents had

already been evacuated to Dalby

by Army Black Hawks. Inspector

Terry Kajewski says police will

stop anyone from entering

Condamine because of the health

risks. We need to guarantee

they have a safe water supply.

We need to ensure that there is

no septic issues. Also I

understand that there has been

couple of weeks. Recovery teams no garbage collected for a

will start work in the town

allowed back in on Friday. The today

Red Cross is providing a number

of services to flood victims T

has set up evacuation centres

and is helping worried friends

and relatives people in the area. The focus

is now turning to the mental

health of the thousands of resident whose have been

displaced. Dr Rob Gordon is a

consultant psychiatrist working

for the Red Cross and also a

specialist in disaster relief

and he joins me now from

Brisbane. Look, thousands of

people have been evacuated throughout Queensland. What

would they be going through at the important thing, Brigid, is

that as long as people are

coping with the immediate circumstances, they go into

survival mode, they go on

adrenaline and they

with what has to be done. Some people

people react emotionally with

anger or anxiety, but by and

large, people just get down and

deal with it. The problem is

this state often stays with

people until they've cleaned

up, until things have stabilised and as long as

they're in this state, they're

not in a position to really

feel what it all means. The later. So what sort of problems

will they face then when the

waters recede and they can go

back into their homes? I think

that's when - with floods

find is often takes quite some

time for the full damage to

show up. People's houses are

not stable for a long time and

the consequences of their

losses take maybe weeks to

fully sink in, and so people

are often coping with one

problem after another,

negotiating with insurance companies, dealing with various

hazards that unfold, and there

is just so much work to be done

that people are just in a state

of exhausted endurance

and then really, what we - the

message we want to get out is

people need to actually

recognise that the real

problems begin after that in

the later stage of the recovery

and that's when we want people

to user vices and take care of

themselves. And longer term,

you've worked of course many

disasters, most recently the

Victorian bushfires F you look at

homes are still standing and

after the clean-up they can

obviously relive their lives. Because the fact that Because the fact that their homes are still standing, does

this help with the recovery? Well t does help in

some ways, but I've worked in a

number of floods and people

will say after a flood that

their house is never right,

that it has mildew, that the

frame keeps shifting, they keep

having to rehang doors, it just

never quite feels like a good

house again, and I've had some

people say, "Look, I would have rather have had down and have a new one. At least I would

least I would be starting from

scratch." So there are certain

things about floods that are

really difficult, they hang

around for years and that can

be quite demoralising if people

are not careful and

understanding this sort of

thing, and we really want to

emphasise that people - it's

not just the physical framework

of the house and so on that

counts, it's the way in which

the whole of life during this aftermath that is

often a source of problems. A

very long road ahead. Dr Rob Gordon, thank you. Thank

you. The next big threat after

Rockhampton is in the Rockhampton is in the southern

inland region of Queensland.

Rain has been falling

throughout the St George area

this morning and more is

forecast in the days ahead. Our

reporter Kirrin McKechnie is in

St George. The rains started

falling here in St George early

this morning and that's done

little to allay residents'

fears T has eased off a little

bit now, but the is warning a lot more is on the way. The Balonne River is

expected to peak at 14m or even

higher, probably on Monday, and

if this rain sticks around,

that could really add to the

problem. The local council has

been madly building levees in a

bid to stop floodwaters seeping

into the town. They were out in

force again this morning,

dumping mountains of sand in

low-lying areas, but the local

mayor insists that even with

all that hard work, about 30

homes will not be saved, they

nursing home will be evacuated

today, and its resident also be flown to Brisbane for the

duration. The local hospital

already sent seven of its seriously ill seriously ill patients out of here - they were flown out

yesterday - and a field

hospital has been set up on

higher ground. More rain and

hail are forecast for that area

today and there are further

weather systems on the way. For a detailed look at what lie as

head, here is the Brisbane

superintendent of the Bureau of Meteorology, Gavin Holcombe. Look, hot spot, as you might call it,

is across the southern interior

into the Darling Downs area,

and that includes areas like the Maranoa, east of

Charleville and onto the Downs

area to the west of Dalby area

there, but that whole area will

move into the south-east corner

of the State overnight. So what

sort - how much rain are you

expecting and obviously this is

going to worsen the flood

threat for many of these

towns? Look, it will, to some

extent. Initially we're looking

at falls between 30 and 50mm,

basically up to about 9am

tomorrow morning, but in the

following 24 following 24 hours we're

looking at falls - good

widespread 50-100mm with the odd fall in excess of 100mm,

and by then that area will have

moved into the Wide Bay and Southern Capricornia Central Highlands

Highlands areas, and that's

where the headwater s of the

Fitzroy are, the headwaters of headwaters of the Condamine

Rivers which are the main flooding

flooding rivers. So more rain

for Rockhampton possibly in

those areas in the next 24-48 hours? Yeah, look not so much

in Rocky, but the areas to the

south of Rocky will be the main

concern over the next 24-36 hours. Gavin Holcombe, thank

you. OK, thank you. To other news and the Federal Government

has been warned of a serious

backlog in migrant processing.

The Immigration Department has that more than 140,000 skilled

migrants are waiting for their

applications to be processed.

It says the logjam could take

more than two years clear. The

departmental advice also

predicts that Australia is on track

track to reach a population of

36 million by 2050 despite the Prime Minister's efforts to

distance herself from such a

target. If it becomes clear that the Government's own

processing of skilled migrant applications is flawed, then it says

says that this government can't

do the basic things of government right. Today another

boatload of asylum seekers was intercepted intercepted near the Ashmore

Islands. The group of 90 people

is the first arrival of the

year. Bob Birrell is the co-director of the Centre for

Population and Urban Research at

at Monash University. He says

talk of a big Australia is

misleading mpt As far as the

big Australia issue is concerned, the Immigration

Department is saying that its present policy settings will

deliver around net 190,000 MiG

grants per year, which is a little higher than the Treasury's big Australia projection that. Would put us

to a bit over 36 million by 2050. The department has

predicted that business needs a

net migration intake of 180,000

as you just mentioned, just under that other figure. Is

this figure accurate or

achievable? There is no lack of

people who would like to come

to Australia as migrants. From

business perspective, some

simply want big numbers because

they're into property

development or city-building, but others

but others are more concerned about scarce skills,

particularly in the mineral industry,

industry, and there is no doubt

that the present migration

standing is large enough to satisfy those rather specialist

needs. Our big problem in

Australia at the moment is that

very few overseas migrants get

anywhere near the minerals industry such as in the

Pilbara. They end up in Sydney

and Melbourne, to

extent South-East Queensland and Perth. What about the backlog, the queue of migrants

wanting to get into Australia?

I think it was around 140,000? Yes, that's a very

serious issue for this current

government. The problem is that since the beginning of 2009,

they've given priority to certain skilled occupations and

excluded others like cooking

and hair dressing, but

nonetheless, they allowed

persons to apply for permanent

entry, including former overseas students, so they've

gottens of thousands in that backlog of people with occupations that really aren't

needed but yet potentially

could gain permanent res dense

under the rules that they

applied. So they them pli have

not dealt with that problem and

it is a serious one, because if those persons are granted permanent entry, then that will

cut down the potential number

of visas to people who are in

genuine in need, as indeed the

mineral thank you very much OK. The

Federal Government is launching

another effort to extradite an

accused Nazi war criminal.

Charles Zentai is wanted for questioning over the murder

an 18-year-old Jewish man in

Nazi-occupied Hungary in 1944.

His planned extradition to

Hungary was overturned by the

court last year, but now the

Home Affairs Minister Brendan

O'Connor is appealing against the ruling.

is said to be devastate ed by

the ruling. Salman Taseer was

an outspoken opponent to the death penalty for

blasphemy. Salman Taseer was

shot and killed by one of his

own bodyguards. The

assassination took place in a

leafy district of the capital, Islamabad. Up to nine shots were fired at the governor.

TRANSLATION: My house is near

here. First I heard a gunshot

and later Kalashnikov shots. I came moving the governor it a

vehicle. The bodyguard accused

of kiing the governor was arrested and is now being questioned by Pakistani Government is promising a full investigation. TRANSLATION: He

TRANSLATION: He was martyred by

his own guard, but we have to

investigate whether it was investigate whether it was an individual act or whether someone else was behind

it. Salman Taseer was one of Pakistan's best known

politicians. He was a member of the ruling Pakistan People's

Party and was a close ally of

the President Asif Ali Zardari. Mr Mr Taseer angered some Muslim

leaders for his opposition to

the death penalty for the crime

of blasphemy. His support of a

young Christian woman facing blasphemy blasphemy charges enraged his

critics. The assassination is

the most high profile in

Pakistan since the killing of former prime minister Benazir

Bhutto in December 2007. The

government has condemned the

latest bloodshed and declared

three days of national mourning

to honour Salman Taseer. have a quick look at other

stories making news around the world. Police in the

Philippines have arrested a man

suspect ed of killing a local

politician on New Year's Eve thanks to a thanks to a picture taken just before the shooting. Local councillor, Reynaldo Dagsa took

a picture of his family and

caught the gunman in the background just as he raised

the gun to fire. A bank in

Buenos Aires has been robbed by

thief whose dug a 30m tunnel

from a neighbouring building.

The tunnel was lit and airconditioned and led to the

bank's strong room where the thieves emptied 140 safety deposit boxes. And

two men in the central Chinese

mountains have broken the record for the longest time

immersed in ice. They had to break one hour and 50 minutes.

One of them remained in the ice for two freezing hours. Back

to the Queensland floods now

and the lost export revenue has

been estimated at up to $9

billion or 0.7% of GDP. Water has

has caused widespread crop

damage and many farmers are

still unable losses. Queensland's Premier says three-quarters of the

State's coal fields are currently out of operation

because of the wet weather.

That's expected to have a knock-on effect international steel manufacturing. The State's

export s half the coking coal

the global industry needs. To

discuss the impact on the

economy, I'm joined by Shane

Oliver, chief economist with

AMP Capital. What's your

assessment of the economic

impact? My feel something it

will be about 0.5 of GDP,

spread quarter and March quarter, so

about 6 or 7 billion dollars,

but obviously the figures are

fairly rubbery because we're to

work out the full impact of the damage. The biggest impact will

be the coal sector. The longer

that's disrupted, the bigger

the impact. 0.2% of GDP alone.

Then of course agriculture and

disruption to tourism and people going across their

normal lives so there will be

quite an impact there. What are your fears then of possibly,

will it cause two quarters of

negative growth which of course

means a recession? It's a

possibility but worth keeping

an eye on. Were in not for the

agricultural sector woe would

have had a negative. The December

December quarter doesn't look

better. We won't have the

agricultural sector and the

coal exports will be hit so a

fairly soft December quarter and fairly soft march quarter,

so the risks couple of quarters of negative growth,

growth, but I think it

unlikely. I think other sectors will hold up. Bear in mind,

there will be a rebound. Coal production will rebound and agricultural production will

start to rebound from the

middle of the year but we will

have a coup of soft quarters and the numbers are

reported. What do you think

will be hardest hit, agriculture or mining? Initially I was

thinking agriculture, but a lot

of the crops have been

harvested so that will take away

but mine lg be hit hard. The

coalmines are flooded, need to

be pumped out. That will take a

matter of weeks once the

flooding stump s - flooding stops and then of course disruption to the ports

themselves. That will be the

biggest single impact. Coal, and then wheat, sugar and

cotton from that. I'm sure we

will hear from you again, Shane Oliver, thank you Thank you. To

other news in business - US car

makers have reported strong

sales for December, rounding off

off a year of steady recovery. Chrysler said sales for the month rose 16% while General

Motors and Ford saw an increase

of 7 perts. The figures confirm

a sharp turnaround for the US

auto industry. Chrysler and GM

were forced into bankruptcy

protection during the global

financial crisis in 2009. Despite those positive

signs, the federal Reserve

remains worried the US recovery

could be derailed by Europe's

debt problems. Minutes of the

Reserve's December meeting were

published this morning. They

concerned that what they term modest improvements could still

be damaged by Europe's economic problems. An inflation in the

Eurozone has risen to its highest highest level since the currency was launched in 1999. Prices in December were 4% up

on the year. The European

Central Bank is expected to

raise interest rates this week

to try to tackle the problem.

But some analysts warn that

will increase the likelihood of so-called stagflation which

means low growth paired with

high inflation. Let's take a check now of Juliette Saly. We heard what

cost the Queensland floods may to be

to be the economy. But now the

insurers are being hit on the

markets? Absolutely and we saw that

that yesterday with the insurance stocks heavily sold

off. This morning one of the

key investment banks came out

with broker upgrades and downgrades

downgrades for some of the irn surers. It

surers. It gave a downgrade for

Suncorp Metway it is expected

that the claim as rising from

the floods could actually top

Suncorp Metway's natural perils allowance. Suncorp sold off yesterday but is

coming back in afternoon trade,

up about 1% at the moment.

Meanwhile, a broker upgrade for

IAG because it is believed the

number of claims it's receive

ld come under its natural

perils cap. IAG dooing better.

Up by 1%. QBE higher at 1%, so

coming back from yesterday's

losses. And in other news, this

may be not a surprise to many,

but which retailer is showing

signs of a bad Christmas and

sales period? We've heard today from the New Zealand discount retailer The Warehouse Group retailer The Warehouse Group i

the number latest in a number

of retail groups issuing a

profit downgrade. The strengthening Australian dollar is forcing a is forcing a lot of consumers

to buy their products online.

The Warehouse Group is listed on the Australian Stock

Exchange steady at the moment.

Harvey Norman is steady at

$2.92 but a big fall coming

through from Myer down about

2.5%. JB Hi-Fi is weaker. And

Wesfarmers down 1.5% at the moment. Juliette Saly, thank you. Thanks, Brigid. To Wall

Street where the Dow closed at

its highest level since As England and Australia

continue to battle it out in

the fifth Ashes Test at the

SCG, one of the ground's

favourite sons has been

immortalised in bronze. Former

Test captain Steve Waugh chose

what's seen as the defining

moment of his career, for the

scup tore's inspiration. It was

his century in the 2003 Test against England, 4 off the final ball of the day

in Sydney. Waugh was battling speculation about his playing

future at the time. But instead

of an action pose, the subject wanted the sculpture wanted the sculpture to be based on his celebration of that famous ton. It really sums

up, I guess, what it was all

about - hard work, making the

most of my opportunities, and

really enjoying for playing for New South Wales and Australia. Waugh is the last of

10 sportsmen to be honoured in

bronze at the SCG and Sydney Football Stadium. In Serbia is the hot favourite to make the Hopman Cup finals

after a clean sweep of

Australia last night. A sellout

crowd in Perth saw Ana Ivanovic

take the women's singles

against Alicia Molik, 6-4, 6-0.

Lleyton Hewitt then went down

in straight sets, 6-2, 6-4. in straight sets, 6-2, 6-4. The Serbs completed the rout by

winning the mixed doubles. In Queensland, stop seed Samantha

Stosur has gone down to fellow Australian Jarmila Groth at the

Brisbane International. Groth

won 6-2, 6-4 to move onto the

quarterfinals N the men's draw, top seed Robin Soderling

disposed of American teenager

Ryan Harrison is straight sets,

6-2, 6-4. You've probably

guessed this, but last year was

Australia's wettest in a decade

and the third wettest on

record. The weather bureau today released its annual

climate statement. It says

heavy rain and widespread flooding in eastern Australia

has been caused by La Nina

conditions with record sea contributing to very high humidity. The one area that

bugged the trend was south-west

WA. We've seen the driest area

on record in the vicinity of Perth and

regions, so while Australia was

very wet, south-west WA around

Perth and similar regions had

the driest year on record. Mean temperatures in 2010 were

cooler than in recent years,

but the past decade has been

Australia's hottest, and

despite the recent snow storms

and freezing temperatures in

Europe and the US, early global data suggests the still one of the warmest on

record. To the weather here

now. The satellite shows masses

of cloud covering Central Queensland in a trough and that

continues to trigger scattered

storms, cloud streaming from

Western Australia towards the eastern states is producing

scattered showers and storms.

Monsoon cloud continues over

the tropics. More easterlies

will feed into a trough in the

east causing scattered and storms in east causing scattered showers

and storms in Queensland and

northern New South Wales. Hot

northerlies will push into

southern Australia ahead of a

trough. Moist unstable generate thundery shower as

cross the tropics. The

forecasts:

And a final check of the

markets:

And that's the news for now.

There is continuous news News 24 and of course there is

also news online. Our next full

bulletin on ABC1 is at 7

o'clock this evening. I'm

Brigid Glanville. Have a good

afternoon.

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