Proposed Flood Resilience Options

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Flooded homes on the south side of Gympie during the February floods. PHOTO: Shane Zahner

Last Friday, the state government released design guidelines to help Queenslanders understand options for improving their home’s flood resistance.

The Minister for Emergency Management, the Honorable Senator Murray Watt, said the guidance was issued as part of ongoing work to help Queensland homeowners affected by severe flooding this year.

“More than 7,000 Queensland homes have been damaged by flooding this year across 37 local government areas,” Senator Watt said.

“With the $741 million Resilient Homes Fund – which is provided through the Joint Commonwealth and State Disaster Recovery Funding Agreements (DRFA) – we are working hard to help as many people affected by the floods as possible, as soon as possible.

“Trained assessors are on the ground speaking with Queenslanders who have registered for support under this initiative, and their activity will increase significantly in the coming weeks.

“As you can understand, there has never been a program of this scale and complexity ever implemented before in Australia.

“However, we are confident that this work will become the benchmark for national flood resilience initiatives.”

Public Works and Supply Minister Mick de Brenni said options for the Resilient Homes Fund include retrofitting or raising homes to improve resilience or, in severe cases, voluntary buyout of properties .

However, he said, there is no “one size fits all” approach and so the Flood Resilience Design Guidelines have been developed through a collaboration of leading industry experts, including government architect Leah Lang with James Davidson and the JDA Co.

“The different options will be reviewed and provided to property owners on a case-by-case basis and this should be specific to their level of flood damage, future flood risk and type of property,” he said.

“The design guidelines are exceptional in their ease of application and clarity; allowing homeowners to quickly return to normal life after floodwaters recede, with reduced long-term disruption to family and finances.

“They won’t stop a flood, but will help minimize the risk of flood damage to individual properties, save long-term homeowners from having to pay for repetitive repairs to their homes, and prepare homes for changing flood conditions in the future.

“A link to these guidelines, which are posted online, will be sent to all who have registered with the Fund and are available to industry practitioners.”

As of June 28, more than 3,171 people statewide have expressed interest in the program.

This included 391 people who expressed interest in the voluntary buy-back scheme, 1,072 for building houses and 1,145 for renovation, with 563 people uncertain.

Mr de Brenni said ground-level surveys will be carried out by a team ahead of home assessments.

“The Resilient Homes Fund will help many Queenslanders affected by weather events and flooding this disastrous season not only to return home sooner, but to do so in a way that improves resilience to future flooding,” said Mr. de Brenni.

“What’s important right now is for property owners affected by the flooding to register their details so that an assessor can make an appointment to speak to them.

“That’s when they’re able to discuss which options will work best for their individual properties.

“But if anyone needs help now, I urge them to call the Community Recovery Hotline on 1800 173 349.

Flood-affected Gympie residents can register their interest in the Resilient Homes Fund at www.qld.gov.au/resilienthomes.

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