The Attorney General Robert McClelland MP Reflects on the Recent Natural Disasters in Australia & New Zealand

Canberra, Australia ( March 01, 2011

Attorney General Robert McClelland MP 2 The Attorney General Robert McClelland MP Reflects on the Recent Natural Disasters in Australia & New Zealand

The Attorney General Robert McClelland MP Reflects on the Recent Natural Disasters in Australia & New Zealand

Today marks the end of one of most severe natural disaster summers we’ve ever seen in Australasia. While Australia is in the early stages of recovering from one of the worst disaster seasons in our history, our friends across the Tasman continue to deal with the impact of a catastrophic earthquake. The Australian Government has responded quickly to requests for emergency assistance from New Zealand.

More than 500 Australians have been deployed to Christchurch to help with the crisis. Along with the States and Territories, we have sent more than 140 Urban Search and Rescue specialists, doctors, nurses and surgeons, a 75 bed field hospital and 300 police officers.

The Australian Defence Force has been transporting this emergency assistance to New Zealand, and bringing Australians home. We have deployed two Emergency Management Australia Liaison Officers to the Command Centre in Christchurch to ensure Australia is in the best position to provide any assistance that is requested.

Natural Disaster Season

Back home, summer brought a devastating natural disaster season. The worst floods in Queensland’s history hit the state, followed weeks later by category five Tropical Cyclone Yasi.  Flooding hit communities across New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania and parts of Western Australia, while severe storms lashed South Australia in December.  Bush fires came to the suburban fringes of Perth while Darwin and northern WA were battered by Tropical Cyclone Carlos.

Every Australian State and Territory has experienced natural disaster of some kind this summer.  The Commonwealth Government has responded with a multi-billion dollar package to provide emergency assistance to people in need and help rebuild communities affected by disaster. More than 200 Local Government Areas across Australia remain declared natural disaster zones. In fact, the area now declared as natural disaster zones in Australia exceeds the area of the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Holland, Spain and Portugal combined.

The spirit of people rallying around communities hit by these disasters has been remarkable. The Government is committed to working with all affected Australians to help rebuild their communities.

Bringing Out the Best in Australians

Tens of thousands of workers, Defence personnel, emergency services workers, Emergency Management Australia staff, Centrelink workers and volunteers were involved in helping the nation through the summer of natural disasters. Many others are assisting with the recovery and rebuilding.  This is a link to a blog post from the Attorney general to say thanks to these Australians for their extraordinary efforts.

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