The Victorian Coalition Government will work with communities to help reduce the impact of flooding by clarifying the responsibility and management of levees throughout Victoria.
Minister for Water Peter Walsh today released the Coalition Government’s response to the Environment and Natural Resource Committee (ENRC) inquiry into flood mitigation infrastructure, which was conducted following severe floods in 2010, 2011 and 2012.
The Coalition Government’s response addresses 40 recommendations on levees, waterways, legal issues and monitoring infrastructure, and also community engagement and education.
“The Coalition Government wants at-risk communities equipped to deal with severe flooding and a key recommendation of the Inquiry was a clear structure for managing and maintaining levees,” Mr Walsh said.
“Levees have been constructed in an ad hoc fashion for more than 100 years across Victoria and the way they have been managed and maintained has varied greatly.
“The Coalition Government’s response outlines that in regional Victoria local councils are best placed to manage levees on behalf of their communities, as demonstrated by Kerang and Nathalia where levee systems are working well to protect these townships.
“Rural levees on private land are best managed by the relevant landholders, while Melbourne Water will continue to manage levees in its operational region.
“The Department of Environment and Primary Industries will now update the Victorian Floodplain Management Strategy, which has not been done since it was released in 1998.
“Labor had twelve years in government to build on this work but failed to act and left communities in regional Victoria exposed.”
Minister Walsh said that since 2011 the Victorian Coalition Government had implemented a number of initiatives to help communities reduce flood impacts.
“The Coalition Government has funded 28 floodplain management studies for at-risk communities like Rochester, Numurkah and Bendigo to help determine levee priorities for local areas, including whether new levees are needed.
“The Coalition Government has also committed $25 million to boost Victoria’s capacity to cope with floods through repairs to flood warning networks, flood mapping, and developing an improved flood information and warning system,” Mr Walsh said.
Press Release, October 17, 2013