A $4 MILLION, 10-year plan to "flood proof Bundaberg" was launched on the banks of the Burnett River by the State Government this morning.
Local Government Minister Mark Furner, Assistant Infrastructure Minister Glenn Butcher, Member for Bundaberg Leanne Donaldson and Bundaberg Mayor Jack Dempsey came together to make the announcement.
The $4m will go towards more "technical investigations" of four shortlisted flood mitigation options.
They are the Bundaberg East levee, Bundaberg North evacuation route, upper floodplain evacuation improvements and a floodway house-purchase scheme.
All up the four options have a total estimated cost of $140m.
Mr Furner said the plan along with a website, bundabergactionplan.initiatives.qld.gov.au, which is now live, was accessible so the community could be kept in the loop along the way.
"As of tomorrow there will be boots on the ground," Mr Furner said.
"So boots on the ground by geo-technical and engineering experts that will deliver outcomes in respect to what is the best project out of the four which has been identified to produce mitigation for those people in Bundaberg that need it most."
Mr Furner said he was unfamiliar with the amount of money which had already been spent on flood proofing study in Bundaberg but the $4m was new and would start to the process.
"It's a strong positive outcome of $4m we have on the table today to make sure this process is up and running," he said.
Mr Butcher said in the last three to four years there had been some "great consultancy with the community lead by Leanne Donaldson" and the $4m was a step in the right direction to "flood proof Bundaberg".
He said the money from the Palaszczuk Government would make sure the work would start now after all the consultations were done.
The promise has been a long time in the making for Bundaberg which was hit by a catastrophic flood peak of 9.53m on January 29, four years ago.
The record flood caused hundreds of millions of dollars damage.
Mr Butcher said the technical assessments would start tomorrow and the "action plan would help flood proof Bundaberg".
"This is a great day for Bundaberg," he said.
"Annastacia Palaszczuk has made a commitment to make sure this town is flood-proofed into the future."
He said the money was not a guarantee Bundaberg would be flood free but further investments along the way would make sure it happened.
Ms Donaldson said buyback would involve land purchases or land swaps in selected Bundaberg North locations, particularly around the Hinkler Ave area, "where lives were at risk during times of flood".
Geo-technical studies would help the government choose the best plan to move forward with.
Ms Donaldson said she was happy the plan, an election promise she made with the Premier, was now underway.
Cr Dempsey said it was a signification announcement and a step forward.
"We are three years into a 10-year project already and now see it has been extended by another three years," the mayor said.
"Time is of the essence.
"The community of Bundaberg really looks forward to seeing the commitment of funds in the upcoming budget (on Tuesday)."
He said people may sleep a little bit easier now but it was important to see flood mitigation now delivered.
THE FINAL FOUR
Levee at East Bundaberg
This option includes construction of a levee along the south bank of the river to reduce flooding in Bundaberg East. It would require construction of two floodgates (with one large floodgate for Saltwater Creek).
What: This option would prevent floodwaters from the Burnett River backing up into Bundaberg South for events up to one-in-70-year flood. This option would provide protection for about 440 properties up to a one-in-70-year flood event. It would reduce flooding for about 320 properties in a one-in-a-hundred-year flood event. A flood-gate structure would be required across Saltwater Creek to prevent Burnett back-up flooding but allow local floods to pass.
Cost: $38 million
Benefits: Estimated reduction in flood damages of around $29 million.
Issues: Localised rainfall that causes flooding in Saltwater Creek may inundate properties to a greater amount if the event occurs concurrently with a Burnett River flood and the flood gate is shut.
BUNDABERG NORTH EVACUATION ROUTE
This option involves improving emergency access to Tallon Bridge by creating an extension to the bridge from Gavin St through to the roundabout near Bundaberg North State School.
What: This option would enable 1400 properties in Bundaberg North to have emergency access to Bundaberg South during a one-in-a-hundred-year flood event. It would assist in reducing impacts on people as isolation is reduced and access to emergency services is increased. It would also decrease stress due to reduced isolation and improved access to emergency services during flood events.
Cost: $42 million
Benefit: Although there is no reduction in flood damages, about 1400 properties would no longer be isolated in a one-in-a-hundred-year flood event. Evacuation times for Bundaberg North would increase by about four hours.
Issues: This option has limited benefits in very large events (e.g. larger than 2013). It would have limited benefit for those properties to the east of Hinkler Dr or south of Hinkler Park. The impact of the bridge structure has not been assessed and would need to be considered.
IMPROVEMENTS TO UPPER FLOODPLAIN EVACUATION ROUTES
This option involves provision of better evacuation routes and access during floods to the communities of Goodnight, Morganville, Pine Creek, Givelda and Electra through raising of the Perry River Bridge and construction and upgrading of 4WD tracks.
What: This option would reduce isolation time for communities in the Goodnight Scrub, Givelda and Pine Creek during large flood events. About 400-600 properties would have improved access during floods, requiring less reliance on emergency supplies. Construction would be in the order of $16 million for the Perry River Bridge and $1 million for construction of the 4WD evacuation routes. This option has minimal impact on others and would have a high chance of getting environmental approval.
Cost: $15.5 to $18 million
Benefit: This option would not reduce flood inundation of any houses. However, it would significantly reduce the duration of isolation for a large rural community. Based on the history of flood levels in the Burnett River, it is estimated the Perry River bridge is cut for about 14 days a decade. The proposed bridge upgrade would reduce the time that the bridge is cut to one day a decade. Based on the loss of income, this reduction in isolation would result in an estimated benefit of $0.7 million. However, the intangible benefits of reduced isolation and the decreased costs of emergency management during flood events would result in greater economic benefits for this option.
SCHEME TO BUY HOUSES OVER NORTH
This option would involve purchase or relocation (via land-swap) of select residential blocks in Bundaberg North deemed to be in a floodway with high depths and velocities.
What: This option would remove 130 properties from the floodplain. The purchase of houses would have a result in social changes and social impacts in this area. In rare floods (i.e. larger than 2013 flood), the flooding conditions in this area become extremely hazardous and would likely result in destruction of many houses. The costs of the option are more than eight times the benefits to be realised through reduced flood damages. However, there are other non-tangible benefits associated with reducing the risk to life during floods, especially rare floods.
Cost: $39 million
Benefit: The preliminary flood damages assessment for this option suggests that the estimated reduction in flood damages would be in the order of $5 million.