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Wayne Swan

Deputy Prime Minister and Treasurer

3 December 2007 - 27 June 2013

29 January 2013

Interview with Karl Stefanovic
Today Show, Channel Nine

SUBJECTS: Queensland Floods and Storms

STEFANOVIC:

First of all let's focus in on Bundaberg and what help the Federal Government is supplying there.

TREASURER:

We've got a C130 which will arrive there at 8am this morning, another one possibly on the way; they will take out 95 patients from the hospital – that's been very important. But great work was done last night by the Black Hawk helicopters and the ones from EMQ as well –

STEFANOVIC:

Dangerous work there.

TREASURER:

Dangerous work. Over 500 people, including 100 people towards midnight last night. So operating at night is dangerous, but a fantastic job was done. A lot of cooperation between all of the authorities, and of course we've got this joint taskforce under Brigadier Greg Bilton, which has troops who will be going into the area as the waters recede to assist some of these areas that have been terribly damaged.

STEFANOVIC:

Sounds like it's going to get perhaps progressively worse in Bundaberg?

TREASURER:

As Mal was saying, it's hard to tell at this stage. You see, the rivers are still rising. Until you have a comprehensive assessment of the damage it's hard to say what is absolutely required. But the Defence Forces are also working with the State authorities to scope, if you like, the nature of what we're dealing with.

STEFANOVIC:

But you're ready to move in and supply whatever assistance you can as well once the waters start to recede as well? They're going to need all the help they can get.

TREASURER:

Well certainty, working with the State authorities. There's no doubt that what is occurring in Bundaberg is extremely serious and it is across a wide range of areas, not just Bundaberg, but it's a whole lot of the towns in the Wide Bay region. We shouldn't also forget what's happened in Ipswich overnight, about 350 houses out there in Central Ipswich. The Goodna area has not been hit, thankfully. And of course, we've got this unfolding in northern New South Wales as well.

STEFANOVIC:

Alright. Thanks very much for your time, it's the bottom of the hour, it's almost time for another update. But just before we go, this Tim Mathieson thing, which is completely not important on a day like today but is doing the rounds down South. Can you tell us what you think about his comments?

TREASURER:

Well, I'm a prostate cancer survivor so I understand the importance of testing. He could have chosen his words more carefully, but let's not have the whole message of the need for testing lost in this debate.

STEFANOVIC:

Alright, dealt with. Wayne, thanks very much for your time today and best of luck. Bundaberg certainly the focus for Emergency Services as we head towards that river peak later on tonight.