Queen praises Australians' flood 'resilience' at visit

The Queen praised the "resilience and courage" of Australians who faced floods in January

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The Queen has praised the "resilience and courage" of Australians facing floods in January during her visit to the country.

She was speaking in Brisbane, where the river broke its banks, causing thousands to flee.

About 45,000 well-wishers lined roads and the banks of the river to welcome the monarch and the Duke of Edinburgh.

Meanwhile, a 22-year-old man has been arrested for allegedly exposing himself to the Queen's motorcade.

Queensland Police Service said he has been bailed and will appear before magistrates on Friday charged with wilful exposure and public nuisance offences.

The Queen's 10-day tour of Australia is her 16th visit to the country.

On Friday she will open the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Perth.

The floods were the worst seen in the Queensland region for four decades.

The Royal couple travelled up Brisbane River in a catamaran to see the South Bank district of Brisbane, a mix of apartments, offices, shops and galleries devastated by rising waters.

The flood caused 12 million Australian dollars (£7.8m) worth of damage in the area.

'Vast impact'
Queensland Premier Anna Bligh shows the Queen a pair of koalas The Queen was introduced to a pair of koalas during the visit

The Queen said: "Prince Philip and I have been greeted with great warmth and good humour in the true Australian spirit and I have seen the fortitude, ingenuity and determination of Brisbane to overcome the setbacks of last January.

"We are here to pay tribute to the resilience and courage of Queenslanders who bravely picked up their lives and rebuilt them after a period of great adversity.

"This morning we travelled along the Brisbane River listening to the stories of when the river broke its banks, and seeing the vast impact of the natural disaster."

The Queen was also introduced to a pair of koalas at a rainforest walk on South Bank.

The creatures - one of which was chewing eucalyptus leaves - were evacuated from a sanctuary in Brisbane during the floods.

Nine-year-old Nivea and Sprite, aged eight, were bred in captivity and are used to being around humans.

The BBC's royal correspondent, Nicholas Witchell, says that while some are suggesting this may be the Queen's last visit to Australia, there is nothing to suggest that she regards this as a farewell visit.

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