Liberals want an inquiry into River Murray flood response
The state government organised an independent investigation after the 2019-20 bushfires. Now the opposition wants to do the same for the 2022-23 floods.
An investigation into the River Murray flood recovery is needed to make sure that South Australia’s government learns from the summer of 2022-23.
So say Opposition Leader David Speirs and the state’s other Liberal MPs, who hope to form a parliamentary committee for the purpose.
“Our aim is to … thoroughly investigate key aspects of the disaster, including the roles and responsibilities at all levels of government, the grants processes and river flow management and modelling,” Mr Speirs said on Wednesday.
“South Australia deserves to be better prepared for future flood events, and affected communities deserve confidence in the government’s response and recovery efforts.”
One issue the inquiry needed to look at was the recovery grants process, and how little of the available funding had been taken up by community members, Riverland MP Tim Whetstone said.
“Only a small amount has managed to trickle its way to those who need it,” he said.
“Many in my community have told me the application process is so complex and there’s simply too much red tape when it has come to accessing these important grants.
“I think it’s vital we take a deep dive into the grants process, as it’s important this kind of funding gets to affected businesses in a timely manner.”
Any inquiry would also need to consider the future of the levees which protected valuable agricultural land along the Lower Murray, Murraylands MP Adrian Pederick said.
“Levee banks play a critical role in protecting our communities and farming properties from flood damage,” Mr Pederick said.
“The management of levee banks is a mixed responsibility between government and private land holders.
“An independent investigation into levee banks could provide critical information to help us better prepare for future flooding events.”
Long, slow pump-out continues
As of last Friday, floodwater pumping was continuing behind 10 levees along the Lower Murray, according to the state Department for Environment and Water.
Levee stabilisation work was being undertaken at Mypolonga and Long Flat, and had been completed at Pompoota, Mobilong, Burdett, Toora, Westbrook and Wellington.
The Wellington levee was the last one where pumping had not yet started, nearly four months after river levels returned to normal.
More information: www.environment.sa.gov.au
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