Australia: Council launches program to reduce flood impacts

Source(s): Toowoomba Regional Council

Toowoomba Regional Council this morning launched a multi-faceted program aimed at the long-term reduction and management of flood impacts across the region.

Council has unveiled the Safer, Stronger, More Resilient Region initiative with the public release of recently completed flood studies across the entire Toowoomba Region.

These studies form part of Council’s commitment to improve flood management and community awareness of flood risk.

Spread across 35 locations, the flood studies have been undertaken by specialist engineers and incorporate the latest data, modelling techniques and community input. The studies have all been peer-reviewed by independent flood engineers.

Toowoomba Region Mayor Paul Antonio said last week’s events associated with Tropical Cyclone Marcia clearly demonstrates that our region is not alone in the need to better understand potential flood risk.

“As many communities continue to face the devastating clean-up it reminds us not to be complacent when it comes to the impact of flooding in our own region,” Cr Antonio said.

“In our region we know only too well the effects of flooding and we sympathize with our neighbours as they begin the long road to recovering from this disaster.”

Cr Antonio said the Queensland Floods Commission Inquiry clearly stated in its 2012 final report that Councils had a responsibility to minimise future damage.

“These studies were the result of a legislative requirement, but Toowoomba Regional Council is taking it a step further to embed lessons learnt and improve decision-making across all Council activities,” Cr Antonio said.

“No other local government in Australia has embarked on a region-wide flood management project of this scale and in this short period of time.”

Council has spent more than $200 million on repairs to hundreds of roads and significant infrastructure across the region since the flooding experienced in 2010 and 2011 as well as designing and building a number of “betterment” projects to minimise the future damage.

“Council recognises the need for the whole community to be involved in this initiative. Consequently, consultation sessions will be held across the region including a dedicated webpage to give opportunities for all community members to participate and provide feedback on the flood studies,” he said.

Cr Antonio encouraged communities from across the region to get involved in the process.

Insurance Council of Australia chief executive officer Rob Whelan said the Toowoomba Regional Council’s flood data was among the highest quality available in Australia.

“Highly accurate flood data helps local governments make appropriate planning decisions in areas exposed to extreme weather and natural hazards,” Mr Whelan said.

“The ICA is pleased Council has given insurers access to this data, which will help companies assess risk when offering insurance policies to local residents.

“The insurance industry encourages all local councils to follow Toowoomba Regional Council’s lead in this area and provide their flood data to insurers through the ICA.”

Council will hold 15 meetings across the region at the following locations:

March 10 - Millmerran Cultural Centre (3pm to 7pm);
March 11 – Nobby School of Arts Hall (3pm to 7pm);
March 12 – Cecil Plains Community Hall (3pm to 7pm);
March 14 – Glenvale State School (10am to 3pm);
March 14 – Oakey Showgrounds (10am to 1pm);
March 17 – Maclagan Memorial Hall (3pm to 7pm);
March 18 – Yarraman Memorial Hall (3pm to 7pm);
March 19 – Toowoomba Showgrounds (10am to 3pm);
March 20 – Toowoomba Showgrounds (10am to 3pm);
March 21 – Toowoomba Showgrounds (10am to 3pm);
March 24 – Crows Nest Community Hall (3pm to 7pm);
March 25 – Highfields Cultural Centre (3pm to 7pm);
March 26 – Pittsworth Function Centre (3pm to 7pm);
March 28 - Oakey Community Centre (10am to 3pm);
March 31 - Westbrook Community Hall (3pm to 7pm).

Council has established a dedicated webpage which provides the full studies, flood maps, location specific information sheets, frequently asked questions and the consultation schedule. This information can be found at the link below.

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