Flood investigation reforms are key as spring is set to get drenched

Farmers are calling on the state government to expedite the adoption of flood investigation recommendations as communities are expected to face another round of torrential rains this spring.

The Independent Flood Inquiry’s report into the state’s major flood management identified a number of problems, and NSW Farmers chairman Xavier Martin said moving quickly on reforms was essential .

“Right now, there are farmers, families and businesses continuing to repair and rebuild after the floods earlier this year, and they will understandably be concerned about reports of La Nina’s return,” said Mr Martin.

“What we need to see is swift and decisive action by the government on some of these key recommendations, with better coordination of rescue and recovery, and a streamlined process for training, response and communication.

“Farmers and communities at risk cannot allow the hard-learned lessons of these floods to be forgotten, we must ensure that all new agencies deliver what people really need.”

NSW Farmers encourages the government to work closely with the farming sector to implement the report’s recommendations, including the establishment of a full-time State Emergency Management Operations Co-ordinator, the recommendation to develop a Single app with updates on disasters, including regional and rural road conditions and improved weather reports.

But it was not just the state government that needed to improve its approach to natural disasters, as Mr. Martin pointed out, local government also had an important role in flood management and mitigation as local approval authority.

“There is a real need to improve planning, assessment and approvals for public and private works on floodplains, as farmers need certainty through transparency and consistent application of rules” , said Mr. Martin.

“Early access to information about roads or flood levels is vital for the safety of people, their homes, livestock and machinery, and will help mitigate similar tragedies in the future.

“We are encouraged to see the commitment of the NSW government to follow through on the recommendations, and we look forward to local government playing their part as well.”

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