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Transcript of interview with Emily Bourke: ABC, PM: 13 January 2011: visit to Grantham

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The Hon Julie Bishop, MP Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs Deputy Leader of the Opposition Member for Curtin

ABC, PM with Emily Bourke

Thursday, 13 January 2011

Subjects: Visit to Grantham


STEPHEN LONG The small town of Grantham in the Lockyer Valley was home to about 300 people. Many are now homeless; dozens are missing. More than 100 army personnel are searching for them.

The Federal Opposition's Julie Bishop visited the town earlier today and she described the scene to Emily Bourke.

JULIE BISHOP Well this morning we left by helicopter early to travel to Gatton. It's the only way to get there.

I visited an evacuation centre. They've seen about 4 or 500 people from time to time through that evacuation centre and then we took a four wheel drive into Grantham. It's the only way to get there - the road is really broken up.

The army and the police were there and the task today is to search for people who are unaccounted for. There's still about 12 people from this small town that are missing and so the army personnel - about 120 of them there today - are out searching for those people.

They've come across cars piled up under bridges. There are upturned tractors and equipment - a light plane on its nose in one of the fields - and the houses are just devastated. It's a very grim scene.

EMILY BOURKE Were you able to speak to any of the locals in Grantham?

JULIE BISHOP Yes we were but not in Grantham. The whole town has been evacuated. They are in the evacuation centres in Gatton and other places, so I was able to speak to them there. And they've been very traumatised. They're pretty stressed, they're tired, and in a number of cases they've seen some really horrific scenes. So they need a lot of support.

I was told that the floods were rising at such a rapid rate that all people could do was literally run for their lives. One man told me that he thought the flood rose three metres in less than 20 minutes on Monday.

EMILY BOURKE There are so many officials on the ground - specialist divers and police and army. I'm wondering what the officials said to you in Grantham.

JULIE BISHOP The coordination between the army and the police was quite evident. They were working together and yet the scene is so devastating. There's just rubbish and debris and broken up

houses and equipment strewn all over the paddocks and mud is everywhere. And it's very difficult to imagine how this clean-up task will begin.

In fact one of the army personnel that I was speaking to was just standing there and he said "Where do we start? Where do we start?”

STEPHEN LONG The Federal MP Julie Bishop