May 15, 2023 | Media Releases, Media Releases 2023

The recent announcement of a $236 million investment by the Federal Government to establish a National Flood Warning Network is a welcome step in protecting at-risk communities from natural disasters.

Shadow Minister for Emergency Management, Senator Perin Davey, has long advocated for upgrading the flood gauge network, which will provide more accurate information on flood risks to communities and emergency services.

“The initiative to purchase and upgrade flood gauges from local, state, and territory governments will significantly improve our ability to monitor and respond to flood risks across the country,” Senator Davey said.

“We heard during my questioning of the Bureau of Meteorology at Estimates that the current network of river gauges and flood warning infrastructure is owned by multiple state, local government and other agencies and they don’t all talk to each other.

“As I continue to visit impacted communities, including most recently Lismore in the east and Kununurra in the west, I keep hearing of the need for early warnings to assist preparation.

“It is extremely important that there is collaboration across all levels of government in addressing the significant impact floods have had on communities, especially so in regional Queensland, Western Australia and New South Wales.

“One area that needs work in order to be consistent nationally is the terminology used for flood warnings and early preparations during tropical lows which can cause similar flooding to cyclones.

“With Labor governments across the country, there is no excuse for delay in the rollout. Every year these communities are left waiting we will see more preventable deaths and property damage. 

“I am concerned the Government intends to spend a decade or more acquiring and improving various state systems across the country in order to build up the network.

“It is vital that we work together to ensure the safety and well-being of our communities in the face of natural disasters. This investment is a long-awaited step in the right direction, and I look forward to seeing the progress and impact it will have on our communities,” Senator Davey said.

ENDS: 15 May 2023