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Gillard Forms Business Taskforce to Assist Qld Flood Recovery

The Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, has announced the formation of a Business Taskforce to support Queenslanders in the immediate aftermath of the Queensland floods.

Gillard announced the taskforce at a press conference this morning with Lindsay Fox, the chairman of Linfox, the transport and logistics business.

Julia Gillard and Lindsay Fox

Members of the taskforce include former Queensland Premier Wayne Goss, now the chairman of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu. There will be representatives from business associations, including Heather Ridout, Graham Bradley and David Michaelis. The National Farmers Federation is represented by its president Jock Laurie.

Answering questions at the press conference, Gillard refused to be drawn on the effects of the floods on the federal budget. She said the cost of the flood damage is not yet known but the government faces difficult budgetary choices. She would not comment on speculation about introducing a levy to fund recovery programs or on dipping into the Future Fund.

  • Listen to Gillard and Fox at their press conference.

This is the text of a joint media release from Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Treasurer Wayne Swan.

As everyday Australians show their compassion and determination by pulling together to help Queenslanders affected by the devastating floods, Australian businesses have answered the call as well.

The Prime Minister today announced the Australian Government will immediately establish a Business Taskforce to support Queenslanders in the immediate recovery effort.

The Business Taskforce will bring together ten Australian business leaders from a range of industries to mobilise business efforts across Australia.

The focus will be on:

  • Leveraging corporate donations of dollars
  • Helping drive and coordinate in-kind donations
  • Using Australia’s best business expertise to help with business recovery and rebuilding efforts in Queensland.

The Taskforce will be chaired by the Federal Treasurer and will meet with the Prime Minister for the first time next week.

The support pouring in from across Australia for people affected by the Queensland floods has been amazing – but Queensland is going to need much, much more in the coming months.

It is important to ensure that business support is marshaled effectively to ensure it gets to the areas and people who need it most, as well as to make sure that the resources being provided are useful and appropriate.

The Taskforce will be established for three months initially, with its ongoing operation to be reviewed at that time.

The Taskforce will play no role in directing government funding or managing the government’s response to the floods disaster. Instead, it will play the important role of helping to drive the involvement of a key sector of Australia in supporting Queensland at this difficult time.

Members of the Taskforce

  • Wayne Swan, Deputy Prime Minister and Treasurer
  • Bill Shorten, Assistant Treasurer
  • Andrew Fraser, Queensland Treasurer
  • Graham Bradley, Business Council of Australia President
  • Brian Flannery, White Energy Chief Executive
  • Lindsay Fox, Linfox chairman
  • Wayne Goss, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Chairman
  • Jock Laurie, National Farmers Federation President
  • Catherine Livingstone, Telstra, Macquarie Bank, WorleyParsons director
  • Michael Luscombe, Woolworths CEO
  • David Michaelis, Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry President
  • Heather Ridout, Australian Industry Group CEO
  • David Stewart, Leighton Holdings Ltd CEO
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Malcolm Farnsworth
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