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Transcript 17593

Transcript of interview, ABC AM

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: 17593

HOST: Well the Prime Minister Julia Gillard has been closely monitoring events and she joins us on AM, Prime Minister good morning.

PM: Good morning Tony.

HOST: As I understand it you're in Brisbane today, what will you be doing?

PM: Yes I am in Brisbane and I will be meeting with Premier Bligh and attending with her the meeting of the State Disaster Management Committee. We have been working alongside the Queensland Government and their wonderful emergency services personnel right throughout the flood crisis, so I wanted to be here personally to make sure all of our efforts are pulling in the same direction. We are lifting the presence of the Defence Force, our Defence Force has been deployed during the flood crisis right throughout but as circumstances have changed we've lifted efforts and we are lifting them again, making available an additional 7 helicopters, bringing to 15 the number in Queensland and many of those helicopters are going to be on the difficult and potentially heartbreaking work of search and rescue.

We're also increasing the number of C-130s, they're the planes that can take supplies to isolated parts of Queensland, townships that have been cut off by floodwaters and may need some extra supplies, and we do have several hundred Defence personnel on a notice to move should that be required.

HOST: Where are those Defence Personnel on stand-by Prime Minister?

PM: We do have Defence Personnel in Brisbane, of course we've got some very important Defence facilities here, including Enoggera and we do also have access to Reservists who can be swung into action.

HOST: Major General Mick Slater has been appointed to oversee the rescue and repair in Queensland, but with these floods extending now into New South Wales, is there a case for his brief to be extended do you think?

PM: Mick Slater will be focussed on Queensland recovery and that is going to be a lot of work and we will be standing shoulder to shoulder with the people of Queensland for the many, many months of recovery to come. We are of course closely monitoring the situation in New South Wales as well and we will be working with the New South Wales Government as necessary to support people there and to assist with recovery there. The dimensions of what's happening in Queensland with the flooding so widespread means that the recovery work for Mick Slater I think has to be focussed on Queensland, that will be enough terrain and enough work to do. There will be so much infrastructure to repair.

HOST: Prime Minister are you concerned about the huge economic hit that Queensland's going to take from this?

PM: Look I am concerned obviously about the impact on people's jobs and livelihood, we are trying to make a difference to that, we're making available a range of payments including emergency dollars that go straight into people's pockets when floodwaters hit their homes and they have to evacuate, through to payments that help small businesses and primary producers rebuilding, through to payments that support working people when they can't get to their place of employment. So that range of assistance is there and that's my real focus now.

We will have to work through the long-term economic impacts for Queensland and of course the huge infrastructure rebuilding task to come as floodwaters subside.

HOST: And it's a cost that'll have to be borne by Australian taxpayers generally?

PM: Yes there will be costs to meet, there's no doubt about that, and I've said that this is going to be an effort over months and months and months, costing hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars. Right now my focus is on doing things like making sure someone who's in an evacuation centre because their home is flooded, can get an emergency payment in their pocket, so we've swung 1,000 Centrelink staff into operations to assist people hit by floods and already we've processes almost 10,000 payments and paid out $17 million and that's just the first initial emergency money to assist people, there's obviously a lot more to do and a lot more assistance to flow.

HOST: The Prime Minister Julia Gillard, thanks for joining us this morning on AM.

PM: Thanks Tony.

Transcript 17593