Building a reliable national flood warning network

The Federal Government will invest $236 million over ten years to establish a national, reliable flood warning network.

The Federal Government will invest $236 million over ten years to establish a national, reliable flood warning network.

Communities, emergency services and businesses need reliable access to flood forecasts. They need flood warnings to help them prepare and respond to flooding events. This investment will improve the reliability and consistency of flood data, forecasts and warnings.

The funding will be used to purchase and upgrade high-priority flood gauges owned by local, state and territory governments in flood-prone areas. In many cases, these are run down and poorly maintained.

Based on the advice of the Bureau of Meteorology, work in Queensland will be prioritised. This is due to the high flood risk to the community in Australia’s most disaster-prone state. It also reflects the Queensland Government’s prior commitment to share the cost of ongoing operations of the flood gauge network.

This funding will ensure high-priority catchment upgrades can begin in every state and territory across Australia if successful cost-sharing arrangements are agreed to.

Over several years, local and state governments have called for a national solution to address critical, long-standing risks in Australia’s flood gauge network.

As far back as 2015, studies have warned that the patchwork flood gauge network would increase risk during floods. Following the devastating 2022 flood season, multiple independent inquiries called upon the Federal Government. These inquiries recommended the Government consolidate, upgrade and assume responsibility for maintaining the flood network. The inquiries identified several terrifying examples where communities were left uninformed or unprepared during the floods because of broken or outdated flood gauges.

National flood working network one of several steps

The Flood Warning Infrastructure Network builds upon the Federal Government’s work to ensure Australia is better prepared for future disasters. This includes new Budget commitments to overhaul how warning messages are delivered to residents during disasters through the National Messaging System (NMS). Through the Disaster Ready Fund, there will also be ongoing investment in resilience and mitigation measures that will keep communities safer from disasters.

Comments attributable to the Minister for the Environment, Tanya Plibersek:

Severe weather events, including floods, are becoming more extreme and frequent. The people of Queensland and Northern NSW especially know that from a recent tragic experience.

People need access to the best available information in real time when these events occur.

Reliable flood warnings will help Australians prepare for moments of extreme weather. It will keep people safer as they happen. And being better prepared will, when the water recedes, help reduce the financial impact of flooding on families and businesses.

Comments attributable to the Minister for Emergency Management, Murray Watt:

We know that reliable early warnings are critical to keep people safe and limit flood events’ physical impacts and costs.

The Federal Government will ensure that the physical infrastructure used to gauge floods in high-priority flood areas is reliable and up to scratch.

We’ve seen communities hit by terrible disasters in recent years. This investment will mean people are given time to protect themselves, their property and their land.

Over several terrible flood seasons, the Coalition ignored calls to show national leadership and upgrade and maintain flood gauges in high-risk communities.

The Federal Government has heard the calls for a national solution, and we are delivering that.

Related Articles:

Send this to a friend