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Transcript 17592

Transcript of interview, 4BC Brisbane

Photo of Gillard, Julia

Gillard, Julia

Period of Service: 24/06/2010 to 27/06/2013

More information about Gillard, Julia on The National Archive website.

Release Date: 12/01/2011

Release Type: Interview

Transcript ID: 17592

HOST: The Prime Minister of Australia Julia Gillard joins us on the program, good morning Prime Minister.

PM: Good morning Peter.

HOST: Are you in Brisbane yet?

PM: Yes I am, I am in Brisbane and I will be attending this morning the meeting of the State Disaster Management Committee, we have been working well together with the State Government's efforts and I want to make sure that that coordination continues. I'll also be meeting with the Commander of our Defence Force operation here and the Defence Force operation has been going for as long as the flood crisis has been going but we've been increasing efforts as we need to and we are increasing them again today, bringing in 7 additional helicopters, that's taking to 15 the number of helicopters here in Queensland, and the focus of a lot of their work is on the search and rescue task because we're still so, so worried about the people who are unaccounted for in these dreadful circumstances. And we're increasing the number of C-130s here, they're the planes that can move food supplies particularly to assist those regional townships that are cut off and might be running short of necessary supplies. And we do have several hundred Defence personnel on a notice to move should that be necessary as the crisis emerges and evolves, we know this has all happened rapidly and as needs arise we're going to be standing there ready to meet them.

HOST: Are you going to visit any of the specific areas that have been so affected?

PM: Well I will be looking to get out on the ground talking to people, we've got to organise all of that when - search and rescue and all of those things are the first priority - so getting out on the ground for me, I don't want to hamper any of the rescue efforts so that's obviously our very first priority.

But I do want to out talking to people affected by this flood disaster as well as making sure that all of our efforts here are working well for the people of Queensland.

HOST: Prime Minister we've had a lot of contact at the station from listeners in other countries, we've had calls this morning from the UK and America and Ireland, have you been contacted directly by any other world leaders at the moment about this developing crisis?

PM: We've had offers of support from around the world and I have talked to some world leaders myself as well as received letters of support. So right around the world, whether it's the United States, the United Nations, Singapore, New Zealand, China, Indonesia, almost you name a country and they've expressed their support and offers of assistance, and we do have some New Zealanders out and about on the ground right now helping in Queensland.

HOST: Have you seen much of the coverage of what happened in Toowoomba and subsequently what is also happened in Ipswich on television in the last few days, some of the most extraordinary pictures you could see from any disaster anywhere in the world.

PM: I certainly have and they've been shocking images, shocking images, we've seen cars tossed around and just this level of damage and when you see that wall of water and you hear the statistics about how many people are unaccounted for it does really make your heart heavy but also make you very determined to get out with the search and rescue efforts and that's what, for example, the helicopters will be doing today, working with the State emergency personnel who are doing such a great job in such difficult circumstances.

HOST: And of course you've actually appointed Joe Ludwig, is it, to head up a taskforce to assist Queensland through this disaster?

PM: I have appointed Joe Ludwig, a great Queenslander, to lead our recovery efforts here and we are going to be standing shoulder to shoulder with Queenslanders whether it's assisting people with an emergency payment when they first flee their flooding home or whether it's helping primary producers or small businesspeople or householders when they return to a scene of devastation, we will be making financial resources available.

With that first initial emergency payment, so that's the urgent dollars in people's pockets, we've almost processed 10,000 claims already, $17 million going into people's pockets, we've got 1,000 Centrelink staff who are doing this work, working through to make sure people are getting the assistance that they need as quickly as we can provide it, and this is going to take months, which is why I appointed Joe Ludwig, we're in the midst of the crisis now, but Queensland is going to be recovering, rebuilding, for many months ahead and I want to be working with Queenslanders, supporting them, for the months that's it's going to take to recovery from this.

HOST: Prime Minister on a practical note, people who have been evacuated from their homes and are looking for the emergency funding that you are able to provide. Two questions, how much funding will they receive and also is it as simple as getting in contact with Centrelink?

PM: What I would say is ring 180 22 66, Centrelink staff will take your call. This is the first initial emergency payment, so when people return and are rebuilding other payments are available, but the first initial emergency payment is $1000 per adult and $400 per child. People who go to evacuation centres, we have Centrelink staff available to assist people there as well.

HOST: Alright thanks for your time.

PM: Thank you very much.

Transcript 17592