Gippsland experiences must be heard in flood inquiry

The Nationals Member for Eastern Victoria Region Melina Bath has called for the devastating Gippsland floods to be included in a new Parliamentary Inquiry into the 2022 flood event in Victoria.

Ms Bath wrote to the Chair of the Environment and Planning Committee, Sonja Terpstra, last week, requesting the Gippsland floods of June 2021 be included within the scope of the Inquiry given the trail of devastation they left across the region.

“We know that northern Victorian communities have been absolutely smashed by the 2022 floods and they deserve answers about why levee banks failed and how flood warning systems can be improved” Ms Bath said.

“In Traralgon, the 2021 floods were devastating for the Gippsland community, due in part to the failure of local warning systems that left hundreds of residents stranded when evacuation orders were issued far too late while flood waters were already lapping at doorsteps.

“Thousands of residents across the region were left without power, some for weeks, and the clean-up took months. There is a resounding sentiment across the region that the experiences of the Gippsland community need to be heard and considered as part of this Inquiry.”

A report released by Emergency Management Victoria in the aftermath of the Traralgon floods found warning systems had failed flood victims, with one-third of residents reporting they did not receive any warning.

“This is clear evidence that some of those on the ground weren’t watching the monitoring network of properly transferring the information to residents.

“We need to look at why these failures occurred and what the Andrews Government is doing to ensure communities and services are prepared for future flooding events, and for this to happen a Gippsland based hearing must be held as part of this Parliamentary Inquiry.”

A member of the Environment and Planning Committee, Ms Bath is inviting submissions from individuals and organisations impacted by the flooding event.

Submissions are open until Monday 8 May and can be made on the Parliamentary website