Victorian Bushfires – 3AW Drive
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DERRYN HINCH: Families, Housing and Community Services Minister is on the line. Jenny Macklin good afternoon.
JENNY MACKLIN: Good afternoon to you too.
DERRYN HINCH: You know these people (inaudible) I was just talking about, I won’t even ask you about it, it’s disgraceful.
JENNY MACKLIN: No, I think we should concentrate on what all Victorians and in fact all Australians really care so much about and have demonstrated by their generosity to the Red Cross Appeal, and that’s really where everyone is (inaudible) at the moment.
DERRYN HINCH: What volunteers, what volunteers in this country, you look at them with awe. Absolute awe.
JENNY MACKLIN: If I can just talk about the people that we saw in the relief centres, I just can’t describe how amazing they are. There’s one lady yesterday at Alexandra, she just lived over the road from where the relief centre is and she brought baby clothes and baby food over. She had her own children minded so that she could come over and help with others. The Red Cross, the Salvation Army, individuals coming in with piles of clothing and bedding and toiletries. It’s absolutely amazing.
DERRYN HINCH: So your capacity as Minister, you’ll be the Federal point person on the (inaudible) construction team, you be liaising with Christine Nixon and her new appointment in her new role.
JENNY MACKLIN: Yes.
DERRYN HINCH: How is this going to work, because urgency is of the utmost?
JENNY MACKLIN: It is absolutely right. Of course, we have to remember that in some of these towns and communities that the police still have a big job to do. We were in Marysville yesterday and it’s a huge job that the police have and the Coroner have, so we certainly want to get in there as quickly as possible to work with the community to rebuild but these critical tasks of going through that devastating town and other communities have to be done first.
DERRYN HINCH: Yes, you can’t just say, well we’ll rebuild this because the (inaudible) connections of towns. I mean when whole towns have gone you’ve got to rebuild the whole town, presumably (inaudible).
JENNY MACKLIN: That’s right, and I think that’s why it’s so important that the Premier and the Prime Minister have agreed to establish this Reconstruction and Recovery Authority today. They understand that people from these communities really do want to rebuild. They want to rebuild their homes, their businesses and their towns and communities. That’s what we’re there for, we know it’s going to be for the long haul as well, because the destruction is so immense.
DERRYN HINCH: I know it may sound presumptuous, but would you give consideration of the idea of as people rebuilding, having like the equivalent of bomb shelters from the old days of the bomb scares of the fifties. Build sort of like shelters, fire shelters for people. Have them build them under their homes or alongside their water tanks, (inaudible) their water tanks, even community centres having some area which is regarded as more secure, because I know with Ash Wednesday, community got together, congregated rather, in the (inaudible) hotel, a big old brick building was seen to be a bit safer.
JENNY MACKLIN: Well they are all the sorts of issues that I’m sure will be considered by the authorities, because we’ll not only have all the relevant organisations involved but there will be proper consultation with community members, local government authorities, so all of those issues I’m sure, will be on the table.
DERRYN HINCH: Yes, so look you were down here working yesterday?
JENNY MACKLIN: I’m still in Melbourne, I’ve been here today, and of course yesterday and the day before the Prime Minister and I went to a number of the relief centres, spoke with individuals and families who some of whom lost absolutely everything, and of course spoke with many of the fabulous volunteers as well who are still doing just such an important job.
DERRYN HINCH: Well alright Ms Macklin, I know you’re busy, I thank you for your time.
JENNY MACKLIN: My pleasure.
DERRYN HINCH: Jenny Macklin, Minister for Families, Housing and Community Services, she will be the Federal Liaison there, working in conjunction with the new Authority set up by the Premier, with Christine Nixon as the new Head.