It was good to catch up with so many of you at the recent FMA conference and to learn of the latest research and practice in floodplain management from across Australia and around the world. A constant theme was how the floods over recent years have resulted in everyone in the industry being so busy. In fact, this busyness is the reason that this edition of Floodplain Manager covers three months. We have simply not had the time to research and write it each month because of project commitments, despite having the resources of a larger company at our disposal. I hope you will be able to find the time to read it!!
The other thing that has been apparent from the floods over the last few years is the increased focus by State and Federal governments on improvements to floodplain management, recovery and resilience. The most recent Federal budget has seen significant financial commitments to improvements in the flood warning network and dissemination technology. Flood inquiries have been conducted or are underway by three State Governments. This has already led to changes in floodplain management and emergency management policy and practice and increased funding.
While these improvements are welcome, as an industry we must not lose sight of the fact that many of these responses are political reactions to electors that are outraged or hurting or both. Flood inquiries were conducted in Queensland and Victoria following the 2011 floods and most of the lessons then are the same as they are now.
As the climate cycle moves to El Nino conditions and the political cycle rolls on, the memories and lessons from the recent floods will fade and demands to spend funds on the immediate needs of the day or to free up floodplains for more intense development will kick in. As an industry we need to keep the memories and lessons alive as the new guard of politicians and bureaucrats take responsibility for policy and funding decisions.
This is why forums such as the FMA conference are vital to not only keeping industry professionals abreast of the latest developments but also to remind each other what we have learned from past events. I trust that Floodplain Manager also makes a contribution in that regard.