Media Releases | 6th Mar, 2012

Flood inquiry barking up the wrong tree

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Environment Victoria today said that the state’s river systems are in danger of being decimated by the Baillieu Government’s proposal to clear river-side vegetation and resurrect failed flood management practices from the 1950s. Environment Victoria was responding to Water Minister Peter Walsh’s suggestion that a parliamentary inquiry into flood mitigation recommend the removal of vegetation from flood prone rivers.

Juliet Le Feuvre, Environment Victoria’s Healthy Rivers Campaign Manager, said

”The Minister’s proposal to clear vegetation from waterways would have a devastating environmental impact, including massively increasing erosion and declining water quality as well as exacerbating flood situations. Past vegetation clearing has had a huge effect on the way water moves through the landscape and has increased the frequency of flash flooding which happened in Queensland last year. We’re very concerned that Minister Walsh seems to be blaming riverside vegetation for flood events.”

Ms Le Feuvre also said “It’s also disappointing that the Minister seems to be pre-empting the results of the inquiry and questioning peer-reviewed climate science.”

“Protecting communities from floods is clearly vital, but it needn‘t be to the detriment of the environment. Mitigation measures such as creating easements and floodways can both protect residential areas and also be used for the delivery of environmental water when it is needed.

Ms Le Feuvre concluded, “The narrow focus of this inquiry highlights that this State Government has no Climate Change Adaptation Plan which would properly analyse the growing risk of extreme weather events and flooding across the state. With an increase in extreme rainfall events forecast we need a holistic risk-management approach from Government, not a knee-jerk reaction with damaging environmental consequences.”

For comment

Juliet Le Feuvre, Water and Healthy Rivers Campaigner – 0428 770 019