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Australian troops rebuilding Far North Queensland.

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MEDIA RELEASE THE HON DR BRENDAN NELSON MP Minister for Defence _______________________________________________________________________________________

Tuesday, 28 March, 2006 034/06



The Australian Defence Force is continuing to standby the residents of far north Queensland as they recover from the devastating impact of Cyclone Larry.

About 320 ADF personnel are working closely with state government agencies and the local community in Innisfail and Babinda.

The Queensland Government has extended the State of Emergency until 1 April 2006. Defence is committed to supporting the Queensland Government as part of the Commonwealth Disaster Plan and will consider further requests should they arise.

Defence is helping restore vital services in the cyclone ravaged area, including repair work to the local hospital, the school and a bridge. The ADF has also been distributing fresh food and clean water, clearing debris, erecting emergency shelter and providing specialist tradesmen such as plumbers and electricians.

Under the command of Brigadier Michael Slater, “Operation Larry Assist” has used a mix of vehicles and aircraft from the Townsville based 3rd Brigade and the Cairns based 51st Battalion, Far North Queensland Regiment, Royal Australian Navy and the Royal Australian Air Force including:

• 6 Black Hawk helicopters,

• 3 Iroquois helicopters,

• 1 Chinook helicopter,

• 1 Seahawk helicopter,

• 3 Navy Landing Craft,

• 2 Caribou aircraft,

• 2 C-130 Hercules.

Emergency support for the region is being coordinated by a Combat Services Support Battalion at Innisfail Showgrounds, providing:

Media contacts Nigel Blunden (Dr Nelson) 02 6277 7800 0407 632 931

Defence Media Liaison 02 6265 3343 0408 498 664

• Health care,

• Environmental advice,

• Fresh food and purified water as well as testing local supplies,

• Tarpaulins,

• Bath and shower facilities,

• Up to 500 beds.

Australians should feel proud of the contribution the ADF is making to the Emergency Management Australia led response to the natural disaster.

The Australian Defence Force stands ready to help our fellow Australians in their time of need.