The Government today thanked the hundreds of ADF personnel involved in the emergency response to the Queensland floods and storms.
As flood-affected Queensland communities move from emergency relief to the rebuilding phase, the ADF has started to draw down its forces to allow local government and contractors to begin the task of long term recovery.
Deputy Prime Minister and Treasurer Wayne Swan thanked the ADF for their rapid response as the crisis unfolded.
“The ADF deployment began with Army Black Hawk helicopters flying continuous rescue missions to those stranded by the floods, undertaking dramatic midnight airlift rescues from rooftops across Bundaberg and the surrounding region,” he said.
“Hundreds more troops were deployed in the following days and we thank these fine men and women of the ADF – led by Brigadier Greg Bilton - for coming to the assistance of Queenslanders in this incredibly distressing time.
“We also recognise the magnificent efforts of police, the SES workers, Centrelink workers and volunteers, who are continuing to provide support to people in the most severely affected communities.”
Minister for Defence Stephen Smith said at the peak of the emergency response, the ADF Joint Task Force had more than 300 soldiers on the ground in the Bundaberg region working with State and Local authorities.
“In addition to the Black Hawks, the ADF also deployed C-130 Hercules aircraft to evacuate patients from the Bundaberg Hospital and a C17 transport plane to fly in emergency stores and other specialist equipment from Brisbane.
“After the initial support provided by the Army and the Air Force, an Emergency Support Force moved from Brisbane to Bundaberg to assist in debris removal, clean-up operations alongside the Mud Army.
“These personnel did a tremendous job and the Government thanks them for their remarkable efforts.”
Minister Assisting on the Queensland Flood Recovery Senator Joe Ludwig said that now the emergency is over, communities are now looking to clean up and rebuild.
“Just as the Federal Government was there during the emergency, we’ll be there in recovery and reconstruction,” Senator Ludwig said.
"Queenslanders want to see assistance rolled out and work underway to rebuild their communities and that's what the Federal Government is going to work with state and local governments to do.
"In 2011 we partnered with the Queensland Government to form a National Partnership Agreement – providing funding of more than $6 billion to help rebuild communities devastated by the floods.
"We will again partner with Queensland to develop and deliver a special package that meets the needs of the state to rebuild, be stronger, and get back on its feet.
“We have been working closely with the state government and local councils to rebuild – that’s what people rightly expect of their governments during natural disasters.”
Ryan Liddell (Office of Deputy Prime Minister and Treasurer) 0427 225 763
Sacha Fenton (Office of Minister for Defence) 0467 784 528
Melissa Patch (Office of Minister Assisting on Queensland Floods Recovery) 0418 734 413