As the cleanup begins in flood ravaged Queensland and northern New South Wales, Wingecarribee Shire Mayor, Councillor Ken Halstead has urged local residents to dig deep to help our northern neighbours.
“To get the ball rolling Council is donating $5000 towards the victims via the Queensland Premier’s Flood Relief Appeal.”
“I challenge local businesses and individuals to also pledge what amount they can,” Clr Halstead said.
As the country comes to terms with one of the nation’s worst natural disasters in recent memory, Wingecarribee Shire Council Acting General Manager, Barry Paull said Council would continue to assess its own flood and emergency response procedures.
“I’m sure in the coming months local councils around the country will learn a great deal about disaster response, post crisis assistance and inter-agency cooperation.”
“Here in the Highlands, Council has been proactive in a number of planning activities should the unthinkable occur,” Mr Paull said.
These activities include undertaking a number of floodplain studies around the region including Bowral, Moss Vale, Berrima and Burradoo. These studies are designed to help map local floodplains and identify areas of potential risk should a major flood occur.
Future flood studies are also proposed in Mittagong, Robertson, Bundanoon and the Wingecarribee River. In addition, late last year Council established a Floodplain Committee – with members from Council and the local community – to oversee the preparation of Floodplain Risk Management Projects across the Shire.
Council is also a member of the Local Emergency Management Committee which includes delegates from emergency services and state departments. This committee meets on a regular basis to discuss issues of local importance which is then forwarded to the NSW State Disaster Plan which subsequently details emergency preparedness, response and recovery arrangements for New South Wales to ensure a coordinated response to emergencies by all agencies.
“Whilst saturated catchments, extreme rainfall and swollen rivers were the major factors behind the flooding in Queensland, there are a number of initiatives that we can all undertake to reduce the likelihood of minor localised flooding.”
“This can include keeping household gutters and drains clear of leaves and debris and reporting any blocked drains to Council,” Mr Paull said.
“In the interim, our prayers and well wishes rest with the victims and families of this terrible disaster.”
To report a blocked drain contact Wingecarribee Shire Council atwww.wsc.nsw.gov.au or on phone 0408 483 203.