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Victoria deploys second SES taskforce to help with Queensland flood recovery and cleanup

Thursday, 06 January 2011

A second deployment of Victorian State Emergency Service personnel will travel to Queensland today to help families and communities with flood recovery and cleanup.

Farewelling 23 VICSES personnel at Melbourne Airport this morning, Premier Ted Baillieu and Minister for Police and Emergency Services Peter Ryan said the deployment of 20 volunteers and three staff would provide vital support to the Queensland State Emergency Service with recovery and cleanup duties.

“All Victorians thank these men and women for generously volunteering their time to provide vital assistance in Queensland’s time of need,” Mr Baillieu said.

“I have been in regular contact with Queensland Premier Anna Bligh in recent days to say we will do whatever we can to help Queenslanders affected and isolated by the flood disaster.

“This deployment shows once again that our emergency services are ready with a helping hand, and these committed volunteers who are leaving today deserve immense gratitude for putting their hands up to help their Queensland counterparts,” Mr Baillieu said.

The VICSES taskforce will work in partnership with Queensland’s fire services to help pump and sweep water out of affected properties, and will also do general cleanup duties.

The taskforce leaving today will be based in Biloela and will assist with recovery and cleanup operations in the town of Theodore, where more than 100 properties have been inundated by flood waters and thousands of residents have been evacuated.

Upon arrival in Brisbane the taskforce will be transferred via charter flight to the staging area in Biloela, with one staff member remaining at the District Disaster Co-ordination Centre to undertake liaison duties.

Today’s deployment is in addition to the five VICSES incident management personnel who arrived in Queensland on Sunday. Another four SES staff will leave for Queensland on Friday morning to help staff the Incident Management Team at the State Disaster Coordination Centre.

Mr Ryan said the deployment sent today would last up to five days, with crews returning to Melbourne on Monday.

“Working conditions will be challenging given the mud, flood water and high humidity, but VICSES volunteers are used to tough conditions and hard work and will be repaying their Queensland colleagues for the support Queensland has provided to Victoria during similar events,” Mr Ryan said.

Volunteers are being drawn from VICSES units in Altona, Bacchus Marsh, Bendigo, Brimbank, Castlemaine, Emerald, Geelong, Hepburn, Moe, Morwell, Nunawading, South Barwon, Wangaratta, Waverley and Wodonga.

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