18 July 2016
Insurance Council offers expertise to protect Huonville region from future floods
The Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) has offered to make its disaster experts available to advise Tasmania’s Huon Valley Council on ways to protect residents from future flooding.
The Huon Valley is experiencing its worst flooding in 20 years, prompting Mayor Peter Coad at the weekend to call for mitigation measures to safeguard local homes and businesses.
ICA CEO Rob Whelan said the Insurance Council was ready to help.
“The ICA can provide technical expertise to Huon Valley Council, and guidance on the potential implications of mitigation measures, such as flood levees,” Mr Whelan said.
“Flood mapping held by the ICA shows more than 50 land parcels in Huonville are exposed to some degree of flood risk. Across the whole of Tasmania, the number rises to more than 77,000.
“Permanent, well-maintained infrastructure is an investment that will be repaid many times over by lowering the risk to communities, helping ensure economic stability, and reducing the need to spend tens of millions of dollars on natural disaster recovery.
“Lowering the risk of flood can also help to reduce the cost of insurance to households and businesses.”
Mr Whelan said Huon Valley residents needed only to look at the success of Launceston’s levee in shielding that community from severe flooding last month to see the value of investigating similar measures.
“Mitigation infrastructure is one of the keys to enhancing community resilience, alongside more stringent building standards, better land use planning and greater access to insurance through removing inefficient and unfair taxes on insurance,” he said.
“Building a flood levee is complex. The process can take many years, so it’s important to get the planning underway.
“The ICA has helped local governments across Australia with their mitigation planning endeavours, and would gladly provide similar assistance to Huon Valley Council.”