Flood mitigation infrastructure inquiry
The Victorian Parliament’s Environment and Natural Resources Committee conducted an Inquiry into flood mitigation infrastructure in Victoria. We sent a submission to the inquiry along with 30 Victorian councils: Submission to ENRC inquiry into flood mitigation infrastructure (Word - 214KB)
The inquiry outlines 40 recommendations that the committee believes, if implemented, will substantially improve the mitigation of floods in Victoria, and in particular, the way levees and waterways are managed in the future.
We developed a members’ brief in consultation with councils. This brief summarises the inquiry and outlines our responses to the recommendations.
Key points in our brief include:
- that flood mitigation infrastructure is only one of a range of options available to manage the economic, social and environmental effects of flooding. Decisions regarding flood management actions should consider all available options, including mitigation infrastructure, to determine the most effective and efficient solution for the broader catchment area
- we are concerned that the beneficiary pays principle may be narrowly defined and applied in a manner that imposes a significant and inequitable financial strain on councils and ratepayers
- discussion relating to drainage should not be separate from considerations of other flood mitigation infrastructure. Consideration of specific flood mitigation infrastructure should consider all available options and combinations including urban and rural drainage and coastal inundation
- Catchment Management Authorities need to be confirmed as the responsible authority for the management and maintenance of waterways, and be empowered and obligated to appropriately balance environmental and flood management objectives
- we strongly support enacting legislation to provide protection from legal liability for public authorities conducting works on priority levees.
Read the members brief on the ENRC inquiry into flood mitigation infrastructure (Word - 266KB).
The Victorian Government had until 1 March 2013 to respond to this report. In the interim, we worked with the Department of Sustainability and Environment regarding recommendations from both this report and the 2011 Victorian Flood Review.
Review of flood warnings and response
We lodged a submission to the Victorian review of 2010-11 flood warnings and response: Submission to Victorian floods review (Word - 241KB).
In line with the terms of reference of the review, our submission focused on the adequacy of funding provided by the state and federal governments, and the adequacy of service delivery by all tiers of government.
While preparing the submission, our emergency management team visited a number of flood-affected municipalities and sought input from all councils regarding the local impact of the floods.
2010-11 Victorian floods
We assisted municipalities with many response, relief and recovery activities during and after the 2010-11 Victorian floods. These included:
- representing councils on the State Emergency Management Team and recovery committees, Victorian Flood Warning Consultative Committee and State Flood Policy Committee
- supporting councils by facilitating resource sharing
- activating our Emergency Recovery Fund to coordinate donations from non-flood-affected municipalities.
Following feedback from flood-affected municipalities, we continue to advocate for reform of the Victorian Government’s Natural Disaster Financial Assistance for Local Councils guidelines.
We requested that the scope and list of eligible costs be broadened to reflect the range and cost of current emergency management expectations placed on the local government sector.