As part of the emergency management response to the broad‐scale flooding in the region, the North East Catchment Management Authority (CMA) has been engaging with the community, local government and other agencies to inform recovery efforts. Throughout October, the North East CMA held Flood Impact Catchment Conversations across the catchment. Conversations were held in Mt Beauty, Eskdale, Omeo, Rutherglen, Whitfield, Bundalong, Whorouly, Harrietville and Milawa with over 80 landholders in attendance.
The CMA invited landholders and other community members to discuss how recent flooding had impacted them, their land and the community as a whole. The purpose of each conversation was to identify what information and assistance was required, how this flood compared with flooding in previous years and what issues required further investigation.
A range of issues were highlighted by attendees across the catchment, with flooding having a greater impact in some areas. A broad summary of issues is shown below:
- Bank erosion with impacts on agricultural and other assets.
- Concern around communication, alerts and monitoring during times of flood.
- Fallen trees affecting river flow.
- Damage to roads and private crossings.
- Damage to levees causing flooding at lower flows than in the past. Property and stock were cut off as a result of floods; extensive fence damage occurred and paddocks were under water. Large financial losses incurred to agricultural producers.
- Flood impacts on quarry sites.
- Isolation of residents due to flood water.
North East CMA are extremely grateful to all who attended the Catchment Conversations and also to those that contacted the CMA directly to report issues. We are working through reports of floodplain or waterway issues reported at the community sessions, together with any cases that have been individually reported to our office. We have also provided more detailed information relating to issues reported which are outside of our area of responsibility, to our flood management partners, including VicRoads, SES, local government and the Hume Regional Emergency Management Team.
Next Steps - Flood Recovery Arrangements
- Following a flood event the North East CMA undertakes assessments of damage to waterways across the region. Full assessments can take some time due to the number of waterways impacted. The flood assessment data is used to seek additional funding to undertake flood recovery programs on waterways, consistent with State and Commonwealth Government policy. It may be some time before the CMA will be able to advise landholders if funding is available for their site.
- Allocated disaster relief and recovery funding may not cover all waterway response and recovery activities following the flood. The North East CMA will make a determination of priorities based on waterway damage across the region and available funding.
- Some sites will be eligible for flood recovery funding, other sites might be funded by the redirection of funds of the CMA’s annual works program, and other sites may not be eligible.
- North East CMA will endeavour to keep landholders up to date about the assessment and funding process. Landholders without email can check the CMA website for updates or make contact by phone.
- North East CMA will undertake priority flood recovery works once assessments are complete and funding is secured.
- North East CMA will be waiving the $120 works on waterways permit application fee until the 30 June 2017, for any landholders seeking a permit to undertake works on a waterway to restore flood damage. More information about the application process can be found on this web page http://www.necma.vic.gov.au/About-Us/Programs-Initiatives/Undertake-Works-on-Waterways. Applicants should note that the application process can take up to 30 business days.