Minister Shorten interview on Channel Nine News


SUBJECTS: Maribyrnong River flooding.

ALICIA LOXLEY, CHANNEL NINE: Where I’m standing here, this is actually a floodplain and areas here, just around the corner, you can probably see how heavy that rain is now and around the corner there are children's playgrounds completely submerged, and I'm pleased to say I do have the Member for Maribyrnong here with me Bill Shorten, Bill, thanks for coming along this afternoon. The heavens have just opened, which is exactly what we don't want to see, you might be able to tell us what this normally looks like?

BILL SHORTEN, FEDERAL MEMBER FOR MARIBYRNONG: Hi Alicia. Yes well what you see here Alicia is the Maribyrnong River, it's 100 metres away and there's a bit of a pond here. But now this is up three metres there. You know, we have the park run around here every Saturday morning. It's the park swim you'd have to be three metres to be able to run in this. So this rain is it is a bit depressing to see actually. I hope that it won't go a any longer, hopefully it's not a big shower. Today has been hard, not just for this area but in Tasmania, central Victoria. But this is a scene which locals tell me they haven't seen in 50 years.

ALICIA LOXLEY, CHANNEL NINE: You are the Member for Maribyrnong. Must be hard to be seeing the people in your electorate going through this?

SHORTEN: It is a it is a little bit of a shock, I'll be honest. I've lived here 30 years. We had some floods here 28 years ago, but this is well beyond two generations. I came here last night to see where how the river was going. The river looked fat, but it hadn't broken its banks and it looked slow, I think overnight. And hats off to the SES and the police. They were door knocking from 3:30 this morning. They've done 60 rescues of people. But what I think has taken everyone by surprise is that initial forecast says the river might rise a couple of metres but it's gone over four metres and that's the difference between water coming across the floorboards or not and also moved the river, moved very quickly and it rose very fast.

LOXLEY: You went to the relief centre a little earlier today. How are people doing there?

SHORTEN: People are impressive when the chips are down, but there's a lot of upset. I think this is a community, people here are quietly proud of their community. They're not arrogant, They don't think they're the best in Australia, but they certainly quietly think there's nowhere better to be. And I've heard some really great stories this afternoon of neighbours looking after neighbours, but I think the real thing will hit in the next couple of days. It's been scary, it's been shocking, but there's been exhilaration. People are operating on adrenalin then when they get back into their houses tonight, I was just another part of Maribyrnong with a clean ups started as the waters were receding a bit, which was good. People are going to realise the extent of the clean up once the mud and mud and flood river is a beast. Once it gets into your house, it stinks, family heirlooms will have been damaged. Not everyone carries the right level of insurance. Some people will be uninsured. But I do know that the local government, Maribyrnong Council in this area has done a great job that the State Government's working on relief measures. The State Government, I know, has contacted the Federal Government, which is us, and I'm optimistic that if things move well by Sunday, so within about 24 hours we can have trained counsellors and the whole machinery of recovery start to turn up at the evacuation centre, turned into a recovery centre, of course, hoping there's no more rain.

LOXLEY: Bill Shorten, thanks so much for coming down. We appreciate your time and good luck because no doubt you'll be involved with the clean up as well with your local constituents. The member for Maribyrnong, Bill Shorten, here with me and we were talking about disaster payments a little earlier. The Premier did announce that families can apply for payments already of up to $2,000. And we know that 1,500 applications have gone in already. So the need is there. There are going to be plenty more applications Dougal, but hopefully this is just a passing shower. It seems to have eased up already. So that is some good news.

DOUGAL BEATTY, CHANNEL NINE: Alicia Loxley and Bill Shorten, thanks very much for braving the elements there.