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Monday, 21 February 2011
Page: 741

Mr DREYFUS (Cabinet Secretary and Parliamentary Secretary for Climate Change and Energy Efficiency) (10:45 AM) —I rise to speak about the recent flooding in my electorate of Isaacs, which continues to prevent some residents from returning to their homes and has resulted in lost revenue for a number of local businesses. The beginning of 2011 has challenged the resolve of many communities throughout Australia with natural disasters of floods, cyclones and bushfires leaving a trail of devastation and a reconstruction bill which is likely to run into many billions. In Victoria, flooding has substantially impacted many communities in regional areas over the past few months, which was amplified at the beginning of February by a weather system attributed to the tail of Cyclone Yasi soaking the state.

Our communities in south-east Melbourne did not escape, with suburban streets turned into rivers, properties and cars inundated in a matter of minutes, and roads and businesses closed for days after the initial deluge. While the damage was not on the devastating scale that was suffered in Queensland or northern Victoria, this was a very unusual event for south-east Melbourne. The suburbs in my electorate that experienced the worst effects of the flooding were Bangholme, Mentone and Mordialloc. As the clean-up effort continues, parts of Bangholme in particular are still underwater. A number of properties and local businesses remain underwater. Property owners are expecting a significant clean-up bill once the water is finally removed.

On Friday, 11 February I visited properties and local businesses in Bangholme to see firsthand the effects of the flooding and the problems Melbourne Water and the City of Greater Dandenong are currently working to rectify. I spoke with local residents, many of whom have lived in the area for decades, about the impact of the ferocious rainfall of 4 February on their homes and properties. Melbourne Water representatives advised that 175 to 200 millimetres of rain fell in a four-hour period and indicated that this rainfall event was in excess of a one in 500 year event.

The days preceding my initial visit to Bangholme saw a coordinated effort by the City of Greater Dandenong and state government authorities to pump the enormous volume of water away from these properties and businesses. I would like to thank the workers from the City of Greater Dandenong and Melbourne Water for their continued efforts, and I commend the residents for their patience in this difficult situation. I am looking forward to the authorities continuing to work together to achieve a permanent solution to the drainage issues in this area to ensure that the problem does not occur again. It is a difficult coordination task. The Mordialloc Creek system is in two municipalities—those of Kingston and Greater Dandenong—and Melbourne Water and VicRoads both have responsibilities in the area. It will require the cooperation of all these authorities to resolve the drainage problems, but I am confident that this will occur.