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Transcript of interview with Melissa Doyle: Network Seven, Sunrise: 29 January 2013: Queensland floods and storms; federal assistance

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THE HON WAYNE SWAN MP Deputy Prime Minister Treasurer


29 January 2013


SUBJECTS: Queensland Floods and Storms; Federal Assistance.

DOYLE: Deputy Prime Minister Wayne Swan has been keeping an eye on the disaster situation, he joins me now. Good morning, nice to see you again today. How are you doing? Can I start with the Bundaberg, the situation there, because that seems to be the main area of concern?

TREASURER: Absolutely. A very big evacuation there last night, including up to midnight, in terms of the Black Hawk helicopters and other assets from the State Government. But very successful - quite a dangerous operation - but successfully completed. This morning we’ve got C130 Hercules landing there. I think at 8am the first

one was going to land. That’s part of the evacuation of the patients from the hospital, so there’s medical equipment, something like 95 patients and equipment, that have to be moved and they’re going to be moved by the C130 Hercules aircraft.

DOYLE: Just on that, I’m hearing some residents don't want to go. Can you force them? What can you do in that situation?

TREASURER: Well, that is dealt with by the authorities on the ground from EMQ and by the military. But generally, the threat there is very high, so therefore it’s very important for people to evacuate. And of course, the people in danger here are not just the people in the house, but also the emergency workers that are there as well. That is dealt with on the ground operationally by the authorities.

DOYLE: Alright. A lot of people needing financial assistance as they wake up this morning, and immediate financial assistance -

TREASURER: That’s right.

DOYLE: So what’s being done to help them?

TREASURER: Well, we’ve declared our natural disaster arrangements with the State Government. There is immediate financial assistance that’s available through the State Department of Community Services to get people over the next couple of days. As we evaluate what’s going on on the ground more assistance can be made available under different arrangements as well. We’re monitoring that now, but there is assistance available right now through the State Department of Community Services in Bundaberg and other places across the State that have been declared.

DOYLE: Is it just Queensland? What about New South Wales - we’re now seeing people in similar situations - Grafton being evacuated as we speak.

TREASURER: Sure. Well, the Commonwealth stands ready to work with the state authorities in New South Wales, they are talking very closely. When areas are declared, that assistance - the same assistance that they are getting in Queensland - kicks in, and of course if there is a need for military assistance in New South Wales as well that will be provided on request from the State authorities.

DOYLE: Alright. Well thank you for all those details because they are the things that are immediately required aren’t they - you know, people are homeless and not sure what to do. So that’s what they need to hear.

TREASURER: But the great thing to see is people coming in to give their help, the ‘Mud Army’ is back -

DOYLE: Oh, they’re amazing.

TREASURER: And that’s terrific.

DOYLE: Yeah, it certainly is. Thank you for your time, I really do appreciate it.

TREASURER: Thank you.