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Transcript 17594

Transcript of interview with Kieran Gilbert, Sky News

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: 17594

GILBERT: Thank you Prime Minister Julia Gillard, thank very much for your time. A difficult day, the Premier said that the number missing are now 90, it's terribly sad.

PM: It is terribly sad and I do fear that as a nation we have to prepare ourselves for some more bad news and for a rising death toll.

These are very very dangerous flood waters. We are going to have people on the search and rescue task today, we've had the Australian Defence Force right throughout the flood crisis working with the people of Queensland and as the crisis has changed we've stepped up efforts.

We're stepping up again, there are seven more helicopters that are going to be available, bringing to 15 the number in Queensland and many of those are going to be on the difficult and sometimes heartbreaking work of search and rescue.

We're also bringing into play more C-130 aircraft, they're the aircraft that can move supplies around for isolated townships that might be running short of food or vital supplies, and we do have several hundred personnel on a notice to move should that prove necessary.

GILBERT: But the next 24 hours is obviously going to be a gruesome task for the police and the military out there in the Lockyer Valley?

PM: I think all of would want to send our best wishes to the magnificent emergency services personnel, professionals and volunteers who are doing such a great job in Queensland and of course our Defence Force always does a great job, they will do a great job here.

I will be briefed today by a local Commander Luke Foster who is leading our efforts in Queensland for Queensland Operation Flood Assist and I am here too to talk to the Premier, to attend the State Management Disaster Committee. We've been working well together, State efforts, Federal efforts, shoulder to shoulder, side by side and I want to make sure that that continues.

GILBERT: We know the river has broken its banks now and the projection is four and a half metres today, five and a half metres tomorrow. When you look at the river and this debris, it's hard to comprehend isn't it?

PM: It is hard to comprehend and the numbers of households affected in Ipswich and Brisbane are truly mind boggling numbers, very very large, but we're going to get through this Kieran, we're going to get through it by working together, that's the Australian way and so my message here to the people of Queensland would be we will be there with you for the many many months that it's going to take to recover from this.

And we're going to get through this by everybody staying calm, doing what they need to do, listening to the instructions of Emergency Services personnel and also just going that extra yard to show a bit of care or concern for the neighbours. If there's someone in your street you're worried about, maybe an older Australian and you haven't seen them for a while, just go knock on the door and just make sure they're ok.

GILBERT: And is that the advice that you're receiving at this stage that most people are listening to the directions they're being given and that people are lending a hand?

PM: I think most people are showing a lot of common sense and I've had the opportunity to have a brief word with a few people this morning, I was even told a story about people in supermarkets yesterday, huge queues as people stocked up on supplies, but a real atmosphere where people were talking to each other, sharing the occasional joke and that's something so Australian, isn't it? That we in part get our way through by making sure there's a bit of larrikin good humour involved.

GILBERT: Absolutely, you need it in times like this and it's just a bit ironic isn't it with the wet weather the way it is today, the sun out for the first time in days, if not weeks.

PM: It is a somewhat eerie feeling to be standing in brilliant sunshine, but to know that all of this is happening, even as we stand here bathed in sunshine.

The nation is going to have some grieving to do and today we've got some work to do as well, to assist people to prepare and to keep with the search and rescue, there are Australians desperately waiting for news.

GILBERT: I know you've got a busy day ahead, I'll let you go but, how long are you going to stay in Brisbane, do you think?

PM: Look, I will be making arrangements as I go, there is obviously a degree of unpredictability about what will happen next, I mean we're trying to give people the best possible information, but this has been a fast evolving crisis and so I'll work that out as I go, but I do want to be here today, seeing Premier Bligh, meeting with the State Disaster Management Committee, meeting with our local Commander of Defence Force efforts.

GILBERT: Well good luck with it, thanks Prime Minister, appreciate it.

PM: Thanks very much, thanks Kieran.

Transcript 17594