The Metropolitan Association of Victoria (MAV) has called for an immediate review of the state’s legislation with an aim to clarify roles and responsibilities for waterways, creeks, drains, levees, seawalls and other essential water and flood mitigation assets.


Appearing at a Parliamentary Inquiry public hearing, MAV CEO Rob Spence said that flood-affected councils had called for clarity around planning, responsibilities and ownership of Victoria’s flood infrastructure.


“Many of our communities are still enduring the long recovery following severe flooding in 2010 and the summer of 2011, with local councils playing a significant part in the recovery process.


“Councils have a role to play and are keen to assist, but the current arrangements limit their capacity to do so.


“Municipalities experienced first-hand a wide variance in the quality of detailed flood maps, accurate advice, warnings and flood predictions. This information is critical for comprehensive flood planning to reduce risk.


“We’d like the Victorian Government to work with Catchment Management Authorities and Melbourne Water to fund and coordinate consistent statewide detailed flood studies for riverine, coastal and urban flooding that covers entire catchments.


As it stands, a lack of State guidance has left councils repeatedly taking on responsibilities that are far beyond their capacity, expertise and resources – a situation that is unsustainable,” he said.


The MAV’s submission to the Victorian Parliament Environment and Natural Resources Committee - Inquiry into Flood Mitigation Infrastructure recommends an urgent review of the Water Act, Local Government Act and the Catchment and Land Protection Act to clarify roles and responsibilities. 


Councils have also called for a statewide assessment of levees, weirs and channels to determine the assets owned by each agency, and which ones should be maintained, upgraded or decommissioned.