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Thursday, 22 September 2011
Page: 11271


Mr TEHAN (Wannon) (09:49): I rise today to speak on a very important matter, a matter that will affect people's lives into the future. If we do not address it properly that will show that we have not learnt the lessons from what happened a year ago. I refer to our preparedness to deal with potential flooding. Nearly a year ago was the start of a particular wet period in the state of Victoria which led to two sets of serious flooding, the impacts of which are still disrupting people's lives and making it extremely difficult for them. The government was very quick to put a levy in place to deal with the extra costs around damage to infrastructure and such caused by the floods. But what I want to know is this: what has been put in place to make sure that in the future we have proper warning of flooding events? What has the federal government done almost one year on to improve flood warning and monitoring? Is the Bureau of Meteorology adequately resourced to put the equipment in place to provide timely and meaningful warnings to local communities?

In my electorate, the Glenelg-Hopkins CMA—and it is a large CMA—has one official flood warning and monitoring station on the Glenelg River. Given that we had severe flooding along Mount Emu Creek and the Hopkins River, what steps have been taken to put proper flood warning and monitoring stations in place on that river and that creek? Are they automated? Is it possible for people to call in those gauges and read them? Is it possible, as it should be, for people to sit at their computers and look at what is happening with the water levels in those rivers?

It is nearly a year on. The government was quick to put a levy in place. I hope that they have been just as quick to put the technology in place to help communities in my electorate and across Australia deal with subsequent flooding events. I hope that they have the ability to warn communities so that communities therefore have the ability to prepare for future floods.