The Australian Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, has visited the flood-affected areas of Queensland around Rockhampton in a chinook helicopter. Flying in from Gladstone, the premier met with Queensland Premier Anna Bligh and the head of the flood recovery taskforce Major-General Mick Slater.
At the same time, another Chinook was transporting a Water Purification Unit from Townsville to Rockhampton for the town of Theodore. The unit can produce 7500 litres of clean water and was operational on Friday 7th January 2011. Colonel Luke Foster, Commander of the ADF support to the Queensland flood-relief effort, said:
“The laboratory in Rockhampton has given the samples the all clear, so clean water is now being produced and is available to the Banana Shire Council for use in Theodore’s reticulation system, for distribution to the town’s residents.”
JTF 637 tasks the aircraft and units which are supporting the Queensland emergency management agency. Aircraft include three Army Black Hawk helicopters now operating around Rockhampton, two Navy Sea King helicopters on standby at Roma for relief operations in the St George area, an Army CH47 Chinook helicopter operating from Townsville, two Air Force B350 King Air aircraft and an Air Force C-130 Hercules operating from RAAF Amberley.