Media Release – COUNCIL PREPARES RESOURCES FOR FUTURE FLOOD THREAT

Upgraded warning systems, especially in more remote locations across the Bundaberg Region are part of a rollout of measures being undertaken in preparation for future flood threats..

Bundaberg Regional Council Mayor, Cr. Mal Forman said one of the major issues raised by people in the more remote areas of the region during the January flood event was the lack of appropriate communications especially when areas became isolated.

“We have taken on board these concerns and now have radio systems that will be installed in places like Goodnight Scrub, Winfield, Bucca, Buxton and Monduran.”

Cr. Forman said the radios were currently being programmed to use existing Council infrastructure to maximise their range.

He said Council and the Bureau of Meteorology were partnering in the installation of additional and enhanced river and rain gauges plus a number of automatic rain gauges that will be located deeper into the Burnett River catchment area.

“These additional gauges and upgrades will provide earlier and more reliable information that will be fed back to BOM and on to the community,” said Cr. Forman.

He said the use of mobile phone technology will also be utilised in enabling messages to be pushed out to remote areas. “We are working with the State Disaster Coordination Centre to have pre-prepared messages available for specific locations to warn of impending emergencies.”

Cr. Forman said Council was engaged in reviewing its own Local Disaster Management Plan and incorporating changes that would improve operational efficiencies.

“We have learned much over the past two flood emergencies and I believe Bundaberg is widely regarded for its response plan especially during the last emergency.”

“We are conducting discussions with community and government agencies to ensure we can access their resources. This includes local schools that may be required as temporary evacuation centres.”

“One message I would really impress upon our community is for residents to accept a level of responsibility for their own safety and preparedness in the event of future emergencies.”

He said when threats were imminent people needed to stay tuned to their radios and to heed the warnings issued. “Remember that BOM is the single point of truth for weather and warnings. Local ABC radio and commercial networks are also committed to distributing factual and up to date information during disasters. Representatives of these organisations are members of the Bundaberg Local Disaster Management Group

Cr. Forman said Council remained committed to ensuring the safety of people and their property within the capabilities of Council resources.

He said discussions were ongoing with State and Federal governments in an effort to source funding for a community evacuation centre to be constructed as a part of a multiplex facility at the old showgrounds.

“Council has recently appointed consultants GHD Engineering to undertake formalisation of a Floodplain Management Action Plan. This includes the appointment of a Community Reference Group which will provide valuable input into the planning process.”

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