Mayor welcomes IGEM report findings

Date published: 16 July 2019

Townsville Mayor Cr Jenny Hill has welcomed the findings of the Inspector General Emergency Management 2019 Monsoon Trough Rainfall and Flood Review released today.

The independent IGEM review found that the actions taken when operating the Ross River Dam during this year’s unprecedented monsoonal event prevented more wide-spread flooding in Townsville.

“While the report is welcome, the reality is that many of our residents require assistance to get back on their feet and our community’s recovery continues to be our priority,” Cr Hill said.

“Many people are still not back in their homes and are experiencing problems with insurance claims, and that’s why we must keep up the pressure for the insurance industry to do the right thing.

“It’s also important that the council acts on recommendations in the report on areas where the city’s Local Disaster Management Group (LDMG) can make our procedures even stronger.

“The report has made recommendations on the management of evacuation centres and improved education about flooding to our residents and we will address those issues in conjunction with the State and other agencies through the LDMG.”

The report found:

  • Actions taken when operating the Ross River Dam prevented more widespread flooding (p18)
  • “…there would have been increased flooding” if the standard operating procedures were followed and there had been no manual gate operation of the Ross River Dam” (p18)
  • Earlier releases of water from the dam would have made no appreciable difference to flooding impacts (p18)
  • Improved communication and preparations led to improved responses with aged care facilities during the monsoon event (p14)
  • The disaster management groups and other agencies worked well together to provide a high level of safety to the community (p15)

Recommendations include:

  • Improvements to management of evacuation centres to better support vulnerable people. Approximately 8000 residences were impacted in the city. A total of 2490 people were accommodated at five evacuation centres (p14).
  • Increased public education to raise awareness of flood messaging on similar level as cyclone awareness (p13).
  • Council’s online Emergency Management Dashboard provided up to date information with 3,700,000 hits.

2019 Monsoon Trough Rainfall and Flood Review (PDF, 30MB).

Submission to the Office of the Inspector-General Emergency Management (PDF, 748.6 KB).