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Sunrise -

View in ParlView

HOST: Prime Minister Julia Gillard has come to Brisbane to witness this devastation first hand. She
joins me now. If I can get an update as far as logistics to help out. I know you have called in
extra reinforcements.

PM: Thanks, Mel, our magnificent Australian Defence Force has been helping every day of the flood
crisis. And as the crisis has worsened we've increased assets available, we're doing that again
today, there will be seven additional helicopters available. That will bring to 15 the number in
Queensland and that will mean that 11 of those helicopters will be available to assist with search
and rescue, because we are still so worried about so many people who aren't accounted for yet.
We're also making available additional C-130s, they're the planes that can move food and supply and
their role will be to make sure that there are supplies particularly in regional Queensland, where
townships are cut off and people may need that assistance flown in. And we do have several hundred
Defence personnel on a notice to move should that be necessary, in order to assist the people of
Queensland. So on the Defence Force side, more is being done, they've been there all along, working
hard, but we will keep increasing as necessary to meet the evolving needs of this widespread
crisis.

HOST: Yes, which we are witnessing is requiring more and more every minute as we speak. Just, I
guess, run us through, what have you seen in the last 48 hours and some of the pictures and what
you've experienced?

PM: I have been shocked, Mel, I think we've all been shocked by the images of that wall of water
just wreaking such devastation and I agree with you that when we hear the statistics about how many
homes are going to be hit in Ipswich and here in Brisbane, gee, the dimensions of it are truly
mind-boggling. What we are going to do is just keep working through to assist people at every stage
of this crisis from putting an emergency dollar into someone's pocket when they've had to flee
their home because it is filling up with floodwaters to helping small businesses and householders
and farmers when they return and start cleaning up the devastation and I did want to emphasise,
Mel, we do have those initial emergency payments available. We've processed almost 10,000 claims,
around $17 million, the first initial payment going into people's pockets. And if people need that
kind of assistance, the number to ring is 180 22 66. We're going to keep building on that but
that's the first payment to help people who literally have had to evacuate because of rising
floodwaters.

HOST: Ok, so those payments are easy to get and they are going through quickly I guess as people
want to hear because I know in past disasters we've seen sometimes there can be little holdups and
it is the last thing anybody wants, so you can tell us they are easy to access and they will be
quick?

PM: We've got 1,000 Centrelink staff on the task of working on the flood and they are working as
hard and as quickly as they can.

HOST: Lives are all that matter in situations like this. Are you meeting with families,
particularly those who are grieving? We've got the death toll standing at ten the Premier Bligh has
said that that will probably at least double?

PM: We are bracing for further bad news, Mel, and I am certainly going to be available here in
Brisbane. I will be attending the meeting of the State Disaster Management Committee this morning
to make sure that the Federal efforts and the State Government efforts all continue to work
together. We've worked together well so far, we want to keep that going. I'm going to be meeting
with the Commander of the ADF, here in Queensland, Luke Foster, who is commanding our efforts and I
will be looking forward to talking to the people of Queensland about how this flood crisis is
impacting on them. It's always great to get out on the ground and the opportunity to talk to people
face to face.

HOST: Absolutely. More than anything, they want to know they are being supported both at a
government level and also a personal level and we're doing all of that, everybody is, we're right
behind them we're doing everything we can. Julia Gillard, thank you very thank you very much for
your time this, I know you have lot on your plate is a lot ahead. Thank you.

PM: Thanks Mel and I'm sure you've caught the sentiment, we will all be standing shoulder to
shoulder with Queensland for the months and months of recovery ahead as well as in the days of this
immediate crisis.

HOST: Yeah absolutely as you said, it's going to take a long, long time and we certainly are. Thank
you so much.

PM: Thank you.