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Katherine spirit 'amazing': Tambling



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Senator The Hon. Grant Tambling CLP Senator for the Northern Territory M E D I A

RELEASE

KATHERINE SPIRIT “AMAZING” : TAMBLING

Senator Grant Tambling likened the scenes he witnessed in a visit to Katherine today to the devastation caused by Cyclone Tracy.

“ The pressure on residents and their need for assistance is obvious by the number o f claims being processed for the Commonwealth Emergency Payment (ex-gratia payments),” he said.

Senator Tambling said 30 Centrelink staff were working tirelessly at a temporary Centrelink office to put through more than a hundred claims an hour.

“ So far they have paid out $1.86 million to £542 people in the first two days o f operation,” Senator Tambling said.

Senator Tambling said long queues in the hot sun were obviously taxing for local residents waiting for benefits.

“ I would urge people who do not need immediate payment not to queue as there is no time lim it for these payments to be administered,” he said.

Senator Tambling said residents evacuated to Darwin or those planning to visit Darwin could also access payment from Centrelink offices in Knuckey Street (Darwin), Casuarina and Palmerston.

Senator Tambling visited a number o f residents, businesses and community-based organisations during his visit today.

“ I was astounded by the level o f cooperation between the defence forces, police and essential service workers, residents and business people,” he said.

“ The effort o f more than 1000 RAAF, Army and Navy personnel is making the cleaning and restoration o f the town much easier.

“ It was obvious to me in briefings I received today the role played by defence forces during and follow ing the flooding was o f a high professional standard and the continuing effort now going on is a remarkable gesture which makes me proud o f the ADF.

“ The spirit and goodwill after the trauma o f the flood and continuing hot tropical conditions is amazing and I sincerely hope this atmosphere o f cooperation w ill be maintained.”

Senator Tambling was also briefed on the activities o f Commonwealth agencies in the town (including Centrelink, ATSIC, CES and DEETYA) and local government and visited St John ambulance workers and the NT Police and Fire Service.

Senator Tambling said he would also monitor an urgent meeting being held tomorrow in Canberra between banking and insurance representatives, Federal Government ministers and Northern Territory C hief Minister Shane Stone.

ENDS 3.2.98 Contact: Senator Tambling 041 9811415 or Lynne Hare 041 2087314