Transcript - Interview - 2GB Ben Fordham Live

BEN FORDHAM: Very sad morning. Reid Butler, our reporter on the scene. Just repeating, five people have been killed and four people are in a critical condition.

Joining us on the line is Catherine King, who is the MP for Ballarat. Catherine King, thank you for talking to us this morning.

CATHERINE KING: Good to be with you, Ben. Not great circumstances.

BEN FORDHAM: No. This is obviously a heart punch to your local community.

CATHERINE KING: Oh, Daylesford is a beautiful community. It’s really a village and has had lots of people move in, long-term residents as well. But of course, over weekends and over the unofficial long weekend, they welcome people from all over the state. It’s a great tourism destination and I can only imagine was a warm night last night. That area I know well, there’s actually – it’s sort of on the verge there. The people from the pub use it. There’s an ice cream shop there as well, so there would have been families. I’ve sat there with my own son and family. It’s an area that everyone sort of uses and congregates in, and particularly post COVID it’s been a really busy part of the world.

So, I know last night just would have been terrible, terrible scenes. I know the community would have rallied around. We had the SES on the ground, the CFA, obviously, VicPol and Vic Ambulance. They’re all very close in – knit in there. The Hepburn Shire staff would have been out with traffic. But it’s really the aftermath that I think people are going to need a lot of support and to lose five lives. We’ve got people, obviously in hospital as well. There’ll be long term ramifications for all of those families and I know the community will be hurting today.

BEN FORDHAM: And, Catherine, this is a local pub, but it’s also a place where people visit when they want to get out of the big smoke, right?

CATHERINE KING: Yeah, very much so. It’s a really big tourism destination. It’s got a lot of Airbnbs – of people, tree changes have come up to that area as well. It’s a beautiful part of the world and it is over weekends, often very busy with tourists. And I can only imagine last night it would have really, as I said, with the unofficial long weekend over this weekend, that lots of people from around the state, particularly from Melbourne, would have been up there visiting.

BEN FORDHAM: It’s going to be difficult for the area to pick up after this when you consider five people have lost their lives. We have a six-year-old boy, a teenage girl, also four others in a critical condition. It’s just absolutely tragic.

CATHERINE KING: Yeah, very much so. I know the major collision investigation unit is on the ground and will be undertaking investigation into what actually happened, but this has changed forever. The lives of five families, it’s changed – anyone who’s witnessed the event will be experiencing some trauma as well. I know counselling services will be available on the ground for people and I know Hepburn Shire have spoken to the CEO and I’ll speak to the Mayor again today, really will provide support to the community. But I do want to thank very much those first responders and for the community on the ground, people who just really do anything for you. And I can only imagine the scenes last night just would have been devastating for people.

BEN FORDHAM: We appreciate you jumping on the line. I’m sorry it’s under these circumstances.

CATHERINE KING: Thanks. Thanks, Ben.

BEN FORDHAM: Catherine King, who is the Federal Transport Minister and the MP for Ballarat and the pub would have been busier than usual because there’s a public holiday tomorrow in Victoria for the Melbourne Cup. So, there’ll be another briefing coming later on this morning from authorities in Victoria. And as soon as that comes through, we will bring it.