Thu, March 10, 2011
World > Asia-Pacific > Earthquake rocks New Zealand

Prince William wants to talk with disaster victims in Australia

2011-03-10 02:58:20 GMT2011-03-10 10:58:20(Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

CANBERRA, March 10 (Xinhua) -- Queensland State Premier Anna Bligh said on Thursday that Prince William wants to sit down and talk with Queensland's disaster victims in Australia.

After a two-day visit to New Zealand's earthquake-ravaged city of Christchurch, Prince William will arrive in Australia on Saturday, March 19.

He will spend time in Queensland communities hit by floods and Cyclone Yasi, and in flood-affected parts of Victoria.

Bligh said the details are still being finalized for Prince William's visit, but the prince was determined to spend time with people who has been directly affected by the disasters.

"... he wants it to be less formal - an opportunity for him to really sit down and talk with some of the people that have been directly affected," Bligh told the ABC News on Thursday.

"And I think for some people that will be a shot in the arm for their morale."

Bligh said she hoped there could be an opportunity for Brisbane residents to welcome the prince at some point during his visit.

Meanwhile, tourism authorities and residents in central Queensland welcome a visit by Prince William, saying that it would boost morale if he visited the flood-affected region.

According to Mary Carroll from Capricorn Tourism and Economic Development, a royal visit would be a sign of support to residents of communities like Rockhampton, Theodore and Emerald in Queensland.

She said Prince William could enjoy some of the region's tourist attractions.

"We should try and get him on a bull ride at the Great Western . .. I think he'd probably enjoy that," she told ABC News .

Cotton grower Fleur Anderson said a royal visit would do wonders for the town affected by floods, adding that it would be a huge boost and excitement, and to show that the royal family is listening to concerns of natural disaster victims in Queensland.

In the flood-hit town of Condamine on Queensland's Western Downs, plans are already underway to lure Prince William to visit the region during his Australian visit.

Condamine town, which was evacuated twice during the new year floods, is preparing for its charity rugby carnival, designed to lift the spirits of residents and to lure Prince William's visit.

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