Thursday, 25 March 2021
Questions without Notice
My question is to the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development. Will the Deputy Prime Minister inform the House how the Morrison government is supporting communities impacted by floods, including by ensuring the supply of food and other essential items?
As we meet, the Mehi River is inundating parts of Moree in the electorate of the member for Parkes. As we meet, there are families in Australia who are mourning loved ones who have been lost in this crisis. It is a tragedy. We think of them, we feel for them, and certainly we will do everything we can to wrap our arms around them and support them.
And I know that this is also very important for the member for Reid. In her electorate the local Burwood State Emergency Service, wonderful, magnificent people, have responded to calls in the Hawkesbury-Nepean area to assist with the flooding crisis over and over. They have been there, supporting people and supporting those who are in their time of need.
In one night at Burwood SES, its in-water flood rescue operatives performed nearly 15 rescues from floodwaters whilst also being deployed throughout the Burwood area for general flood assistance. I know that the member for Reid has been in constant contact, not only with those SES people but indeed with volunteers throughout her electorate and with her constituents, to make sure they know that this government and this parliament support them and are there for them.
The unit has said—and I heard the Prime Minister say this earlier in question time—'If it's flooded, forget it!' Never enter or drive into floodwaters. This is not the time to be complacent. Yes, outside here the sun is shining, and the sun is shining in many parts of Australia, but the floodwaters are indeed still rising. We do not know the extent of damage caused by these floods, by this crisis and by this tragedy, but rest assured that when the water recedes—and it will—we will be there to mop up, to clean up, to recover and to rebuild.
It is paramount that those people in the affected areas listen to the advice of the local emergency service personnel and follow it—adhere to it, please! The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator is continuing its important work in supporting road operations and managers, ensuring the safe delivery of fresh produce and medical supplies to those areas in need wherever they might be. When the floodwaters recede we will rebuild. Our $110 billion pipeline of investment in infrastructure is designed to do just that. There is a significant rebuilding task ahead of us; we know that, and we're prepared to do it. By working with state and local authorities on this we will ensure that clear priorities are set and met. We will rebuild and we will re-establish major transport network links wherever they might be.