The Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull visited the cyclone damaged area of Bowen in north Queensland.
The Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull visited the cyclone damaged area of Bowen in north Queensland. Gary Ramage

Malcolm Turnbull tours north Queensland disaster zone

OPPOSITION leader Bill Shorten has assured residents affected by Cyclone Debbie that their legitimate insurance claims won't get "tied down in fine print".  

During an hour-long stopover in Bowen this morning, Mr Shorten with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, Dawson MP George Christensen, Whitsunday mayor Andrew Willcox and Brigadier Christopher Field congratulated the region on its bravery this week.  

The leaders assured the region that they had access to the National Disaster Recovery Assistance, with 75% to be provided by the Federal Government and 25% from the State Government.  

Mr Shorten said the storm may have passed but there were still obligations by insurance companies.  

"In coming weeks and days and months both sides of politics will be making sure people's legitimate claims aren't tied up in red tape and fine print," he said.  

Mr Shorten said there had been lots of rain and there was lots of infrastructure down.  


"People are still cut off from different areas," he said.  

"Australians should realise that the storm may be over but the work has just begun."  

Mr Turnbull said he understood the anxiety that residents had.  

"They're out of fresh water," he said.  

"But we have 12 helicopters available right now and we can move the people around to get the power back on.  

"This is the largest pre-deployment of the Australian Defence Force advancement for a natural disaster in our history.

"This is a very concentrated team effort by all of our agents.

"The whole nation will get behind and support them."

Australian PM Malcolm Turnbull (L) and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten sweep water from a store in a cyclone damaged area March 30, 2017 in Bowen, Australia.
Australian PM Malcolm Turnbull (L) and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten sweep water from a store in a cyclone damaged area March 30, 2017 in Bowen, Australia. Gary Ramage

Commander of 3rd Brigade brigadier Christopher Field said the HMAS Melville would be arriving to provide water and fresh supplies to Daydream Island this morning.  

"She is going to support the Daydream Island people and to do evacuations if provided," he said.  

"There has been remarkable resilience in the face of this natural disaster.  

"As the area becomes more accessible you'll see more and more defence joining."  

Mr Shorten said if Australia wanted to help the Whitsundays region, they could.  

"The Whitsundays is a great place for a holiday," he said.  

"Think about this area."  

Mayor Andrew Willcox said there were roads that had been blocked.  

"We were winning until the storm last night," he said.  

"The weather report says it's going to be clear later today."

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