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Rudd Government helps Queensland supply flood isolated towns.



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PRIME MINISTER

ATTORNEY-GENERAL

MINISTER FOR DEFENCE

RUDD GOVERNMENT HELPS QUEENSLAND SUPPLY FLOOD ISOLATED TOWNS

The Rudd Government has today activated the Commonwealth Disaster Plan, approving the delivery of urgently-needed aviation fuel to flood-affected communities in Far North Queensland.

The fuel will keep local communities supplied with essential goods.

Vast areas of Queensland are now flooded, with towns such as Ingham and Karumba cut off completely from ground transport. This situation is likely to continue for some time.

Given the seriousness of the situation, the Queensland Government has requested this assistance and the Rudd Government has immediately provided it.

Queensland emergency services have been working around the clock to ferry essential personnel and supplies to the isolated areas, but their fuel supplies are almost depleted.

The Rudd Government has authorised Australian Defence Force aircraft to deploy from Townsville. Three Blackhawk helicopters will transport more than 6,000 litres of aviation fuel to the affected regions.

The men and women of our Defence Forces do an outstanding job to help Australians in their times of need. Assisting with disaster relief efforts is an important part of the work of our Defence forces.

The Rudd and Bligh Governments are also providing assistance to 35 disaster-declared shires through the Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements.

This includes personal hardship and distress payments of $165 per eligible person and up to $765 per family. Means-tested Essential Household Contents Grants, worth $1635 for individuals or $4910 for a couple or family, are also available.

Residents in need should call the Queensland Department of Communities on 1800 173 349 to get information on whether the grants apply to them.

CANBERRA 5 FEBRUARY 2009 PRESS OFFICE (02) 6277 7744 ATTORNEY-GENERAL’S OFFICE - ADAM SIMS - 0419 480 224 EMA MEDIA LIAISON - ALASTAIR WILSON - 0408 606 462 MINISTER FITZGIBBON’S OFFICE - 02 6277 7800