The Crest of the Commonwealth of Australia Treasury Portfolio Ministers
Picture of Wayne Swan

Wayne Swan

Deputy Prime Minister and Treasurer

3 December 2007 - 27 June 2013

28 January 2013

Interview with Melissa Doyle
Sunrise

SUBJECTS: Queensland Floods and Storms; Federal Assistance

DOYLE:

Deputy Prime Minister Wayne Swan joins me now.  Good morning to you.

TREASURER:

Good to be with you

DOYLE:

This is where we need you guys to step in.  What assistance is the Federal Government offering?

TREASURER:

We've activated the Disaster Relief Arrangements along with the State Government and local councils. When you were just talking about Bundaberg before, I spoke to the Mayor of Bundaberg, Mal Forman yesterday and they said they would need some helicopters, yesterday they came down from Townsville; they're on standby up there today to assist. A helicopter went into Baffle Creek yesterday, so the Defence forces are on standby if they're needed as the crisis evolves.  That's how it should be.

DOYLE:

Brilliant.  That is obviously the immediate assistance, beyond that as we saw last time around, people need help don't they?  For food, for clothing, for rebuilding – the State Government this morning put $1 million into the Disaster Relief Fund, is that something that you will -

TREASURER:

Certainly.  First of all, the emergency arrangements are in place through the state Department of Community Services, their being established on the ground so immediate financial relief can be given.  But there's also relief which can assist people to get the power back on so there's recovery as well.  And we'll asses that as we go through the next couple of days.  I think we've learnt a lot from what occurred a couple of years ago.  I think our State Emergency Services are amongst the best in the world, they're very experienced.  But I think that thing that really breaks your heart is to see all those people who have been hit not just once before, but in the case of say Gympie, some people two and three times.  So, I don't think a lot of people in this city or around the south east got a lot of sleep last night, that wind was howling and it is very disturbing for people.  But the great thing is that Queenslanders pull together. Two years ago we pulled together; we had that great spirit of the mud army. I think we've just got to all work together to get through this.  I don't think we're where we were a couple of years ago.  There are some parts of the state that are probably worse affected.

DOYLE:

I just remember so many people two years ago, who have so many vivid memories of '74 and here they are now and your heart really does break for them. Thank you so much and thanks for bringing us up to date on all the assistance.  Obviously there'll be more details coming throughout the day. Really appreciate your time.

TREASURER:

Thanks.

DOYLE:

Thanks very much, Wayne Swan.