The Toowoomba Region this week (May 20, 21) is hosting a national conference where hundreds of delegates will be logging in to the two-day program instead of streaming through the Empire Theatre and a host of site tours.

Toowoomba Region Mayor Paul Antonio said Council was pleased that organisers of the 2020 Floodplain Management Australia (FMA) national conference were able to switch the extensive program to an online format.

“I thank Floodplain Management Australia President Ian Dinham and his organisation for the work involved in organising such an informative conference involving leading industry professionals and a wide range of case studies that are drawn from many different flood events and subsequent mitigation work,” Mayor Antonio said.

“I’m also very pleased that the organisation has endorsed Toowoomba to host the 2022 Floodplain Management Australia national conference, which will allow us to host a full program of presentations and site tours.”

FMA President Ian Dinham said: “We are incredibly grateful for the support of Toowoomba in the preparation of this national event, and welcome the opportunity to showcase the area, now digitally in this case, to over 800 delegates from around Australia and the world.

“The work that the Toowoomba Region has undertaken in flood risk management is exceptional and is an outstanding example of excellence in the industry.

“We very much look forward to seeing the region in-person at our National Conference in 2022.”

Mayor Antonio said the title of this year’s conference, A Flood Resilient Australia: transforming vision into action, certainly rang true for the Toowoomba Region and many of our surrounding neighbours.

“Thankfully, the Toowoomba Region can pinpoint exactly where and how we have turned our vision for a safer, stronger, more flood resilient Region into reality across many parts of our 13,000km² region through major flood mitigation projects and planning controls for development based on leading practice in floodplain management,” Mayor Antonio said.

“Preparation and planning have never been more critical. That’s why transforming vision into action is paramount for safeguarding our communities.

fmaweb2“Following the 2010/11 floods, Council embarked on one of the largest and most ambitious bodies of Flood Risk Management Studies and Flood Risk Management Plans undertaken by a local government in Australia, to build a Safer, Stronger, More Resilient Region.

“At the core of this work was the Flood Risk Assessment Planning Evaluation and Scheme Amendment (FRAPESA) project. It delivered multiple flood studies for 30 townships and the Condamine River catchment, along with comprehensive recommendations to better regulate development within flood risk areas to protect people, property, infrastructure and the environment from flooding.

“More accurate flood mapping allows a better understanding of a location’s vulnerability to flooding and helps to raise awareness about flooding and flood risks around the region for residents as well as State and local government policy-makers.

“Our studies have provided greater clarity around what type of development is best suited to different areas, depending on the flood risk.

“This not only protects human life and property, but also has a beneficial flow-on effect for the insurance sector. These studies are living documents which will be regularly updated to reflect new development.”

Toowoomba Regional Council Infrastructure Services Committee chair Cr Carol Taylor said Council had raised the profile of flood risk management across the Toowoomba Region through proactively engaging and educating residents, industry groups, government agencies, community organisations and emergency services personnel on best practice flood risk management.

“Council was very grateful to receive the $10,000 FMA-NRMA Insurance Award for 2018 Flood Risk Management Project of the Year,” Cr Taylor said.

“The prizemoney was used to help fund the implementation of the Guardian disaster management system within Council.

“This has allowed us to upgrade to a new Toowoomba Region Disaster Dashboard that offers our community real-time access to vital information.

“The common goal of all conference attendees is to help each of our communities to be in the best position to prepare for, and respond to, inevitable flood events based on sound information.

“While the major flood events gain widespread media coverage, there have been several smaller flood events across our region, including one earlier this year, that require Council to provide emergency assistance and repairs to our important infrastructure.

“I was fortunate to attend last year’s FMA national conference in Canberra and appreciate the opportunity to hear from engineers and professionals who are delivering projects to safeguard communities across Australia.

“I particularly wish to acknowledge Toowoomba Regional Council’s Manager of Transport and Drainage Planning Rod Betts and our Principal Drainage Planning engineer Graham Bebington for their efforts with FMA and East Coast Conferences to plan this year’s conference program.”

FMA was established following the disastrous New South Wales floods of the 1950s to support and promote best practice in floodplain management. It has now grown to a national association with links to flood related organisations in the United States, the United Kingdom, New Zealand and the Netherlands.