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Transcript of doorstop: Sydney: 17 November 2008: South East Queensland storms.

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The Hon Julia Gillard MP

Minister for Education. Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations

Minister for Social Inclusion. Deputy Prime Minister

17 November, 2008


Doorstop Interview - Sydney

South East Queensland Storms

JULIA GILLARD: Today I have spoken to the Premier of Queensland, Anna Bligh about the aftermath of the storms that have ripped through South East Queensland. Thousands of families have been caught up in this disaster; tragically one young man has lost his life. The Premier, Anna Bligh has personally today toured the affected areas and she’s talked to me about houses with their roofs ripped off, about people who have been left without power and essential services. This is obviously a disaster of some considerable proportion affecting thousands of families.

Obviously our thoughts are with families who are caught up with this very difficult time. The Federal Government will be working with the Queensland Government to deal with the aftermath of these storms and to provide practical assistance. Firstly, the Defence Forces will provide assistance in the clean up if that’s required and we will work with the Queensland Government to provide practical help to families caught up in these circumstances. That help will come through the National Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements and will include providing to affected families the kind of support they need for emergency food, shelter, personal items that need replacing and other support that’s required at this time.

Obviously details of this situation are still coming through. Much of it is already being reported but we will learn more as the hours go on and indeed in the next few days. But the Rudd Government is working with the Bligh Government in Queensland to deal with the aftermath of this situation and to be there providing the practical help that people need.

JOURNALIST: Can you say how much assistance might be available to people?

JULIA GILLARD: The National Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements are triggered when expenditure on a crisis exceeds more than $240,000. Beyond that, the Commonwealth

and the State then share the expenditure. So we will be working with them providing the support that is needed to families. Obviously in this situation you can’t know in advance exactly what is going to be required and what it is going to cost but we will work with the Queensland Government under these Relief and Recovery Arrangements to provide families with the practical help they need.

JOURNALIST: Has there been any indication that the Army will be required to help with the clean up?

JULIA GILLARD: The Queensland Government has indicated their assistance may be required. I understand that there have been some informal discussions locally within Queensland. Of course we have some major barracks in this part of Queensland, particularly Enoggera Barracks. But should it be required, obviously Defence Force personnel will be

made available to deal with the clean up.

JOURNALIST: Have you got a cap on the amount of money you can offer?

JULIA GILLARD: No. The Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements have prearranged formula and method of operation between States, Territories and the Commonwealth. So we will be there as needed working side by side with the Queensland Government.

JOURNALIST: Do you have any plans to personally tour the area?

JULIA GILLARD: Premier Bligh has already been out in the area today. Obviously we will be taking a keen interest in all of this, working with Premier Bligh. We want the volunteers, the personnel who are on the ground, able to get on with their jobs. She’s been able to

provide me with an eyewitness report today.

JOURNALIST: So you don’t have any plans to personally tour the area?

JULIA GILLARD: We will leave that for the future but as for today, today I’ve been able to get the benefit of a personal report from the Premier of Queensland who’s toured the affected areas this morning.

JOURNALIST: Do you have anything to say directly to the people affected?

JULIA GILLARD: Can I say to the people affected it’s obviously a hugely difficult time for them, a very anxious time. It must’ve been an amazingly frightening event. We will be there providing the support they need with the Queensland Government. I know that the pressure on them must be really strong at the moment; surveying the wreckage of their house, surveying what used to be their garden, worrying about the future. We want to be there providing the support we can to get them through these difficult circumstances. Thank you.

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