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Newsline With Jim Middleton -

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(generated from captions) exports. And then their exports. And then

livelihoods. For the rest of

Australia to do what I think

the rest of Australia has done

say to Tasmania for many years, to

federation, "You've got to lock

up even more of your land while

even though a third of that

State, much more than any other

State, is already in national

parks, it's very easy for the

people in the cities to impose

these sorts of moral judgments

on people living outside of the

big cities. Politicians from

all sides have been rolling up

their sleeves to help the recovery efforts. The Premier

of Queensland, Anna Bligh, has of Queensland, Anna Bligh,

been winning a lot been winning a lot of support

crisis, but her for her response to the flood

enjoying the same success.

Julia Gillard has come under

fire for her performance during

the crisis. Joe, is that

criticism justified? It's politicians find themselves in terrible situation, I think,

when there is a natural

disaster because there's not

all that much they can do in the immediate aftermath, let

alone while things are

happening. You see a lot of

politicians and indeed a lot of

journalists hanging around journalists hanging around in flood-affected communities sticking microphones in

people's faces, hugging people

their homes, and telling them to get out of

sense that they're not really

needed in that situation. But,

on the other hand, there have

been many political leaders who

pundits have said have been

finished off by the didn't show enough whether mark Latham or gof didn't show enough compassion, Whitlam need to strike. Certainly for It's a difficult balance they

Anna Bligh and they've had Anna Bligh and Campbell Newman they've had a very good flood.

They've been seen to have a

critical role to play in terms of publicings information and done very well out of that it been good for politically. Cate, why hasn't

good for Anna Campbell Newman? I strike. I think Julia Gillard has been very competent, has been very competent, she

has done what she needed to do,

told the Australian people what she needed to tell them in

bit too much on the logistics and not enough on some of the personal stories. Compared to Anna

Anna Bligh, it was quite tough knew almost - seemed to know

not only every town, but

families in town. She was literally up all night in didn't see Julia Gillard's think it's a bad thing we

emotions as much as Anna's in this instance. I'm a bit

uncomfortable with how much the

female politicians and seeing one was more emotional

and one wasn't, therefore the as well. John, it may lead to a for Anna Bligh, but guarantee she'll win the next election. Just ask John Brumby after the bushfires, Churchill, who won a war and

then lost an

There is a flag that happens. flag that happens. Anna Bligh

owns this issue right now and

it's playing very much in her

favour, but in 12 months from

now, when this commission

report comes out and she's

to try to fix it, the economy

own the problem then is struggling a little, she'll

answer to managing flood talk about the future talk about the future of flood Hello, I'm Andrew On the finance quarter divorce. 40% of couples On the finance quarter today,

doing it and it's making like that? We'll find out on the the finance quarter after 'The Today's Australian mentioned claims Brisbane River could have largely been avoided more water from the Wivenhoe

weekend before last dam a week earlier. On the

up to 300,000 a day. Dams play an important role in storing

water for drinking and also

managing flows. How can dam

operators juggle the two

priorities. Jamie Pittock is a

water structure expert at water structure expert at ANU

what did you make of comments and joins us now. I know

from the engineer in the Australian newspaper today?

It's very easy in hindsight to

operators criticise dam operators. The

have operated the dam exactly operators at Wivenhoe appear to

as it was designed and followed

their operations manual.

They're in a very difficult

dilemma, do they release too

much water early and

flooding people unnecessarily

to prevent a larger flood that

may not happen, or do they hang

on to the floodwater that they've got? The they've got? The operators

I don't think we can criticise have followed the

them. Wivenhoe dam did wa wha

what it was meant to on the day The Opposition Leader has said the said the coalition will release within 12 months a policy within 12 months a policy on

dams. He believes building

more dams can reduce floods and

the kind of impact we've seen

from floods. What do you think

about that idea? The coalition

is right to think about smarter

ways to manage water, but I

think it's foolish to focus on

a single tool like dams. Dams

of are not a silver bullet for all

we've seen with these floods,

they can in some cases reduce the size of a flood a little

bit, but they certainly can't

stop major flood damage in all

dams that I don't think our cases. There's a dilemma in

political leaders understand.

We can't have dam s empty to

catch floodwater while catch floodwater while also

managing them to be full to

store water during droughts store water during droughts to

maintain our water supplies. maintain our water supplies.

So we really need to look at a much broader range of options for managing our for managing our water

options? We believe in academic community there's very options? We believe in the

exciting technologies that we should be looking example, using should be looking at, for

example, using groundwater better, putting more water

underground to store it where

be accessed better in good it can't be evaporated and can

times. Another option that our

governments have been looking

at, but haven't really got

into, is better recycling of wastewater, which is wastewater, which is a reliable source of water

would help us where our populations reliable source of water populations are densest. There's a lot of different ways of There's a lot of

of managing flood risk, they range from non-physical measures like better as your panel has just discussing, so-called soft infrastructure

options, restoring flood plains so that the natural flood can hold floodwater safely and slowly release it. slowly release it. This is a major China are up investing heavily. It's about time we looked at have they done it in have they done it in China and

what impact has it had? what impact has it had? In China, they've suffered very major floods along the river

after the large floods in the demolished a number of the flood flood levee protection banks, so a much bigger flood plain can take up that water safely and lower the flood peak, because there's bigger area, the water doesn't rise so high and that water can then Chinese have been very clever

in using that restored flood

plain area for a great diversity of benefits diversity of benefits for people, fisheries and fish production, through to live stock grazing, through to sand and extraction, recreation nature conservation. It's those sorts of those sorts of multiple benefits from adaptations that we need to be looking at here

ins Australia. Jamie, you

mentioned there in the Chinese example of getting rid talked about bringing in levies in the Brisbane River. Does

that mean levees aren't a good option? Levees are protect key infrastructure that

you can't easily move, like the core of cities, but we're seeing we're seeing that parts of cities are being give the rivers more room to flow around them. So cities like Arnhem in the Netherlands have been their most flood-risk their most flood-risk outer suburbs and restoring some

ancient river channels and in fact using them for sand conservation and so on so that the Ryan River can flow safely

around that city instead of

flooding it. It's those sorts of more at Joe Stella has a question for you, Joe? was going to suggest to you

that a focus on dams probably makes sense at a political level strategy, but the idea of moving towns away from river s, depopulating areas to improve

flood management, would seem to be many times more be many times more difficult,

certainly easy in a place like

China. How do you sell in democracy the idea need to move away from water which need to move away which is essentially what

people want to live next people want to live

It is very difficult. no two ways about it. This is very much what the Government

in the Netherlands has been

looking at with Arnhem and

another major city, another major city, Nomekken, where they have where they have identified

small areas of the outer

suburbs that are lightly

populated that are flooded

regularly that should be moved.

I think when we think of the

Australian situation, where we

have houses in suburban

Brisbane that are at risk of being flooded every second year because they are so low-lying, that's ridiculous. We should have measures to assist those

people to move to places that

difficult question, but we need are at less risk and it is a

to work through those problems. Jamie, it's Barron, interested in your problems. Jamie, it's John

comments on

comments on the better

management of management of stormwater are

there other things we can look at, particularly when it comes

to flash flooding events around

Toowoomba, in a way that was

amplified by not just the geography, the layout of the town, the management of

stormwater, even the number of paved carparks seemed to amplify the to look at the urban design

aspect as well? Yes, very much

so. With climate change forecasts suggesting forecasts suggesting extreme events like flash flooding are more likely, we very much need

to look at that. Where I am at the Australian National

University there's been a project, another city that has endured floods this season, and

those run-off questions are

very much a problem in terms very much a problem in terms of

are can we reduce the areas that

flashiness of the catchment to are paefd to reduce the

help more water soak into the

ground and these projects have been looking at what incentives would you need would you need for individual

residents to change from paving their yards to having

absorptive surfaces, how could

we assist the town councils to

plan better to reduce the sorts of risks of hard surface that exacerbates flooding? Jamie, what did you

make of Bob Brown's comments today that not only linked the floods to global warming but

Well, certainly these are consistent with the sorts of forecasts we would expect

from climate change, but it would be tells us is that these sorts tells us is that these sorts of

extreme events are more likely

from these events to plan to be more resilient with to be more resilient with the

sorts of weather that we'll get with climate change. of singling out industry like coal, but what I

would say is that there's a

principle that taxing society to pay for public goods is a sensible approach and certainly taxing greenhouse gas

emix s climate change prevention and adaptation measures adaptation measures strikes me

as a good idea. But, equally,

there are other measures we need to policies. Jamie, you there are some policies. Jamie, you argued

come out are they? Well, there number of positives to come out of these floods. I think first is that we this as a learning opportunity

to find a more to find a more diverse range of

risk of this sort of damage in

future by restoring flood plains, better insurance does deliver benefits for many

Australian s. There are thousands example in inland Australia who

depend on the fodder that is grown as a result of beneficial

flooding for their flooding for their sheep and cattle. aquifers cattle. We've got groundwater Australia that will help large parts of eastern

Australia that will help us during the next though, about the loss of sediment on to reefs, what certainly there

ill afford to lose top soil in this way, and certainly having that topsoil dumped reefs. So we really need ramp up ramp up the sorts of programs

that have started to do things

like restore Riverside forests to trap this silt reaching the sea. And to trap and prevent much of

what kind of work do you imagine will go into build on the Jamie? I think we need to

build on had in the past in catchment management, funding

years has been run down and has

changed too frequently. It's time that we time that we learnt from other countries like Brazil and

Europe that raise money

directly for these catchment management authorities to invest in better managing

water, rivers, catchments and

flood plains Jamie, we'll have

to leave it there, but very much for talking to us. A to leave it there, but thanks

'The Drum'. Thanks to 'The Drum'. Thanks to the

panel, Joe, Cate and John. You panel, Joe, Cate and John. You

can check out our website