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Australia : Flood Emergency Plan needs public feedback.

The community of Greater Shepparton will have an opportunity to learn about and give feedback on a draft Flood Emergency Plan at a public meeting on 28 November.

The draft plan, developed as part of Council's overall Municipal Emergency Plan, will help guide the response to a future flood emergency.

"Following the flood in February 2012, Council undertook a review of its flood emergency procedures, and identified areas where we could improve," said Greater Shepparton City Council Mayor Jenny Houlihan. "While there was a lot we got right, we recognised that there were areas where we could improve, such as better harnessing local knowledge and improving communication."

"People turn to local government for information in times of emergency, and we take this support role very seriously," Cr Houlihan said. "I believe this Flood Emergency Plan will improve our response to assist the community during and after a flood."

One of the key points identified in the review was the need to develop individual flood plans for each of the smaller towns, incorporating local knowledge.

Other areas of interest were in developing a strong communication strategy, better collaboration between the SES and Council, early notification systems and assisting Victoria Police with evacuations, more strategically planned community meetings, well trained and effectively deployed staff, and earlier engagement with Government to ensure timely access to Federal and State grants.

Although the State Emergency Service is the lead agency in a flood, local government has a large role to play in coordinating relief and recovery services, and supporting the emergency services and other agencies.

Council's role in such an emergency includes coordinating flood relief and recovery support services through a comprehensive communication and community engagement program, coordinating relief centres and community meetings, and a media and communications program.

"I encourage all community members to come along to this meeting and learn about the Flood Emergency Plan and offer their own feedback," Cr Houlihan said. "Another flood is inevitable at some point. We were fortunate that we were not as severely affected by the recent flood as some other municipalities, but we need to make sure that we are well prepared the next time as we can possibly be, and that requires involvement from the whole community."

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Publication:Mena Report
Date:Nov 27, 2012
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