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Flood review progress

Michael Ferguson, Minister for Police, Fire and Emergency Management

The Hodgman Liberal Government is committed to enhancing community resilience and supporting actions to mitigate risks from flooding.

The Government conducted an extensive independent review following the 2016 floods - the worst since 1929 - and this was publicly released.

The Government considered Mr Blake’s report in late 2017 and instructed relevant agencies to progress the recommendations.

Our emergency services continually work to ensure that Tasmania is as prepared as it can be for emergency events like these.

The Department of Premier and Cabinet, through its all-hazard central policy unit, the Office of Security and Emergency Management (OSEM), has been actively developing new whole-of-government arrangements to support community recovery and better coordinate Government activity after emergencies.

These arrangements are intended to enable the Government to set up support more quickly in affected communities and to make sure that support meets community needs.

In addition, in December 2017 the Commonwealth and Tasmanian Governments committed to jointly fund the $3 million Tasmanian Flood Project under the Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements, which will ensure that most, if not all, communities will have access to high resolution elevation information to support flood mapping. This work will develop the Tasmanian Flood Hazard Map to support flood assessment and the development of land use planning and building controls.

Under this project, the Tasmanian Government will also work with Local Government to undertake detailed flood studies and evacuation planning for communities most at risk of flooding.

A new State Recovery Plan has been developed and amendments to the Emergency Management Act 2006 will be legislated later this year. These new arrangements are already supporting the Tasmanian Government recovery efforts from the extreme weather event of last week.

None of this work happens overnight and rather than grandstanding on an issue as important as this, we’re getting on with the job of improving the planning and coordination of our emergency services. This is in direct contrast to the Opposition’s Rebecca White, who is being opportunistic in playing politics when Tasmanians are dealing with the very real impacts of a natural disaster.  Political grandstanding on this matter while people recover from a natural disaster lacks integrity.

We commend our emergency services and volunteers, who demonstrated once again their professionalism and hard work in response to the floods. Their efforts, and those of our service providers, play a major role in the ongoing recovery effort.

Disaster assistance is now available through the jointly funded Commonwealth-State Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements (NDRRA), providing a much-needed helping hand to affected families and helping local councils clean up and restore damaged infrastructure. We will ensure we continue to support our communities as they recover.