Australia — Visit To Operation QUEENSLAND FLOOD ASSIST

Today I (Min­is­ter for Defence, Stephen Smith) vis­it­ed Aus­tralian Defence Force per­son­nel in south-east Queens­land and thanked them for their rapid response to the Queens­land flood cri­sis.
ADF per­son­nel, in coop­er­a­tion with oth­er Com­mon­wealth and State Gov­ern­ments and local author­i­ties, are work­ing to save lives and reduce the impact of the floods on Queens­lan­ders.

Togeth­er with the Prime Min­is­ter, who is also vis­it­ing Bris­bane, I met Colonel Luke Fos­ter, the Com­man­der of Oper­a­tion Queens­land Flood Assist, at Enog­gera Bar­racks in Bris­bane. The Prime Min­is­ter and I thanked Colonel Fos­ter and his team, Joint Task Force 637, for their ded­i­cat­ed and pro­fes­sion­al response to the trag­ic events of recent days.

The Joint Task Force cur­rent­ly con­sists of 223 ADF per­son­nel and includes 15 heli­copters, six fixed-wing air­craft, trucks, a water purifi­ca­tion detach­ment and oth­er ADF spe­cial­ist equip­ment.

These assets, drawn from the Air Force, Army and Navy, are pro­vid­ing search and res­cue, relief, evac­u­a­tion and oth­er sup­port to the peo­ple of Queens­land.

I also vis­it­ed the Roy­al Aus­tralian Air Force Base Amber­ley, which is the oper­at­ing base for ADF air­craft assist­ing with the flood-relief oper­a­tions.

At Amber­ley I had the oppor­tu­ni­ty to meet with some of the men and women sup­port­ing the ADF’s search and res­cue and evac­u­a­tion oper­a­tions. I am proud of the work they are doing in dif­fi­cult con­di­tions, all the more so giv­en many of them have been per­son­al­ly affect­ed by the floods.

Defence per­son­nel have played a cru­cial role in the flood-relief effort, evac­u­at­ing hun­dreds of peo­ple from For­est Hill in the wake of the dev­as­tat­ing flash flood in Toowoom­ba and the Lock­y­er Val­ley.

Dur­ing my vis­it, I also met Pre­mier Anna Bligh and par­tic­i­pat­ed in a brief­ing by her emer­gency man­age­ment team on the devel­op­ing flood sit­u­a­tion and the response of the Queens­land author­i­ties.

Major Gen­er­al Mick Slater, recent­ly sec­ond­ed by the Com­mon­wealth to the Queens­land Gov­ern­ment to lead Queensland’s Flood Recov­ery Task­force, also briefed us on the chal­lenges of recov­ery and ear­ly efforts to address them.

The Aus­tralian Gov­ern­ment, includ­ing Defence, stands shoul­der to shoul­der with those affect­ed by the floods, and stands ready to pro­vide addi­tion­al assis­tance.

Press release
Min­is­te­r­i­al Sup­port and Pub­lic Affairs,
Depart­ment of Defence,
Can­ber­ra, Aus­tralia

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