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Rain lashes flood-stricken Qld -

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TRACY BOWDEN, PRESENTER: More rain is falling on flood-stricken Queensland tonight, disrupting the
massive recovery and clean-up operation throughout the State.

It's also delaying the return of residents to their homes in the town of Rockhampton where the
Fitzroy River level is expected to fall very slowly during the next week.

Further south, to the community of St George, where the Weather Bureau is saying the local Balonne
River isn't likely to rise beyond the predicted 14 metre peak, but Navy helicopters remain on
standby for any evacuations.

Shortly we'll be crossing to St George for the latest but first this report from John Taylor.

JOHN TAYLOR, REPORTER: As if there wasn't enough water already, Rockhampton today woke up to more.
But after weeks of turmoil, there's a glimmer of light.

BRAD CARTER, ROCKHAMPTON MAYOR: We've just had an update with the Bureau of Meteorology and to the
best of our knowledge the river has certainly peaked at 9.2.

ROB SCHWARTEN, STATE MEMBER FOR ROCKHAMPTON: Heart in the mouth sort of stuff because that extra
four inches, 100mm in new terms, is the difference between having it in your house and having it
out of your house for probably 50 people.

JOHN TAYLOR: But Queensland's flood crisis remains unprecedented in its size. More than 40
communities and 200,000 people are been affected. More than 1,000 homes across the State have been
inundated, thousands more cut-off and two entire communities evacuated.

The crisis is so big that every day the Defence Force is being called on for help. A water pump was
today moved to the flood stricken town of Theodore.

LT COL MARTIN BOURQUIN, ADF: We're despatching an army water treatment plant so that in the
interim, whilst they repair all the pumps which have been flooded so that we can essentially
provide them with water whilst they need that.

JOHN TAYLOR: Last night a Black Hawk helicopter flew two children in need to the Rockhampton

East Timor veteran, Major General Mick Slater, has been seconded for months to head Queensland's
recovery taskforce.

MAJOR GENERAL MICK SLATER, ADF: Time is of the essence as we progress down the recovery road.
However, it's very important that we get it right the first time. If we try and rush in and do
patch-up jobs that become temporary fixes that don't help Queenslanders and don't help our
communities well into the future, then we will have got it wrong.

JOHN TAYLOR: The Major General's work began in earnest today with the first of many planning
meetings he'll take part in. The State Government isn't ruling out buying damaged homes in flood
prone areas, but there are a lot of decisions ahead.

MICK SLATER: Give me all the advice and hints that you think you can manage.

JOHN TAYLOR: For days now Rockhampton has been the focus of the flood crisis and in particular, the
suburb of Depot Hill, and the people who call it home.

ROB SCHWARTEN: I mean floods in my experience or any disasters hit the poor the most in a low
socio-economic base they are battlers, they're not people who bludge or anything like that, they're
just decent people.

JOHN TAYLOR: Rob Schwarten has been the State Member for Rockhampton since 1989 and is now Labor's
Minister for Public Works. He was born in the city's 1954 flood and knows intimately that the city
was built on a floodplain.

ROB SCHWARTEN: Whether or not you can flood proof Rocky, I dare anybody to go down to Depot Hill
and tell people they can't live there. You wouldn't be able to fight.

I go down to the Fitzroy Hotel and sit in that front and say well we're going to resume all your
properties, as I'd say you'd want to be able to blue a bit! Because people love being there. My
great grandparent's house is still standing there; it was put there in 1908.

So they at... you know on itself, it's a rather complex social issue.

RETAILER: There's 24 in each lot.

ROB SCHWARTEN: I'll take the whole box, yeah.

RETAILER: 96 all up.

JOHN TAYLOR: When the 7.30 Report approached him, the minister was buying chocolate to give to
families at the recovery centre. His finances are okay, but he says the flood crisis is going to
hinder his Government's pledge to get out of debt and restore the State's fallen credit rating.

ROB SCHWARTEN: There's no doubt that as the State Government takes a massive hammer blowout of
this, the capacity for the State Government to assist and to try and get our AAA rating back I
think you can kiss goodbye quite frankly, and all the economic indicators around that.

I mean the coal, for example, that's a $100 million day industry from which the State Government
gets about $7 million, so everybody suffers from that.

JOHN TAYLOR: Authorities believe that the worst is over for flood-weary Rockhampton and now there
are lighter moments.

CHIEF SUPT ALISTAIR DAWSON, QLD POLICE: The cow was located on North Keppel Island. It was alive
and well and they believe it's come actually from Rockhampton. So it's a 20 minute boat journey and
that's a long swim in anybody's book.

JOHN TAYLOR: Last week, the rural town of Theodore with a population of around 600, became the
first town in Queensland history to be entirely evacuated.

THEODORE RESIDENT: Yeah, the town's buggered. I used to own an engineering works but there's
nothing much there now.

MARGARET DALE, THEODORE RESIDENT: We didn't ever think that it would come to this. We thought that
we would be able to... what I say, live it out and, you know, find higher ground within the town.
We didn't think we'd have to move out like this.

JOHN TAYLOR: Theodore residents have begun returning and a fresh contingent of Victorian State
Emergency Service workers stopped in Brisbane today before arriving there tomorrow.

NEIL ROBERTS, QLD POLICE MINISTER: It's going to be tough because a lot of these people have
experienced great trauma, but I can assure you they're very resilient, very stoic, very brave, but
also supporting each other. So any support from you guys will be gratefully appreciated.

JOHN TAYLOR: Their job is to try and help restore property and lives.

BEN PENROSE, S.E.S. VICTORIA: Obviously we've been told about the devastation and we've recently
experienced floods ourselves and severe incidents such as Black Saturday a couple of years ago, so
we're unfortunately used to it and we'll deal with what comes our way.

DAVID TUCEK, S.E.S. VICTORIA: We do know it's certainly going to be very hot, arduous work, it's
going to be a high level of emotion no doubt with the residents as they return back in to Theodore
and we're just grateful to be here to be able to return the favour to Queensland because we've had
the assistance from Queensland in the past down south.

TRACY BOWDEN: John Taylor with that report.