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 Karl Stefanovic
Today Show, Channel Nine

SUBJECTS: Queensland Floods and Storms; Federal Assistance

STEFANOVIC:

Wayne Swan's just stopped by Treasurer, it's good to see you To get hit again like this - it's tough isn't it?

TREASURER:

It brings back so many memories for so many people. The wind was howling here in Brisbane last night, I don't think a lot of people in the south-east got a lot of sleep last night because the reference point is two years ago and now we've got virtually the whole of the south-east heading into northern New South Wales It's pretty dramatic but it's not in the league of what we had a couple of years ago

STEFANOVIC:

A little bit different isn't it. I don't reckon too many Brisbane people would have seen the winds like this that's been causing severe damage?

TREASURER:

That's right The winds last night were savage; but there are some areas that are being really hammered. I'm also told that the Somerset region, Shane Neumann, the Federal Member up there, is telling me that's been hit pretty hard as well and all that area got hit really hard two years ago.

STEFANOVIC:

Bundaberg is particularly bad, I know Gladstone's been particularly bad, also Gympie looks like it's going to be facing a significant flood crisis with the river peaking later on today at 21 metres – it is quite extraordinary the figures. What help are we getting in place to come in and assist these people?

TREASURER:

Well, Natural Disaster Relief help with the State Government, five more local government authority areas have been declared overnight; that's 34 in total. There's some personnel help, there's help to get essential services back on, there's work with the local councils - all that is flowing through. But the challenge we've got now is it's over such a wide area and you'll talk to the electricity authorities in a moment and they'll tell you the story of the area they're trying to cover right now.

STEFANOVIC:

How do people gather assistance then? Or how do they get financial assistance?

TREASURER:

They can get it through the state department of Community Services. In the first instance, they've got to go to their local reference point in their local community, and in some areas those will already be set up through the Department of Community Services at the state level.

STEFANOVIC:

Do you have anything else lined up federally that's going to be put in place?

TREASURER:

Well, essentially we will monitor, we've got the Defence Forces on standby as the crisis unfolds, we had a helicopters in Baffle Creek yesterday, there's a couple of helicopters up in Bundaberg because the peak there is going to be really high - so we stand ready through the Defence Forces as well to provide that emergency service assistance should it be required.

STEFANOVIC:

I know Queenslanders are a hearty bunch, but again, and we've seen through the bushfires as well through New South Wales and Victoria to have this happen again for Queenslanders is very hard (inaudible)

TREASURER:

Oh it certainly it, and that's why I don't think many people were sleeping, particularly in the south-east, but in many parts of the State People worry about their relatives, their friends. We're a relatively close community; the great thing is that we all stick together We saw two years ago about how the community rallied in the recovery, the 'Mud Army' that came out to help people, you know that spirit was one of the great things that came out two years ago and I think we'll see it again.

STEFANOVIC:

Good on you, thanks for stopping by. The Treasurer Wayne Swan, a local boy who's been through it all as well.