$27 million plan to reduce Gawler River flooding backed by Centre Alliance

A proposal developed by the Gawler River Floodplain Management Authority (GRFMA) to significantly reduce flooding within the lower Gawler River – while also balancing environmental and social consequences – has the full support of Centre Alliance.

Centre Alliance candidate for Grey, Andrea Broadfoot, said the plan appeared to be the most immediate and cost-effective option to help control water levels when the Gawler River peaked,

Andrea said if elected, she would work closely with the Authority to help it secure the $27 million if required in federal and state funding for the project to go ahead.

“Once every 10 years – for the past 160 years – the Gawler River has been subject to major flooding,” Andrea said.

“The most recent were in 2005 and 2016,” she said.

“In 2005 around $40 million worth of crops was lost, and in 2016, 250 properties were flooded and about $50 million in horticultural production was lost.

“Flood mitigation works are needed in the lower stretches of the Gawler River to significantly reduce flooding of property, road closures and damage to infrastructure.

“The GRFMA has developed a sensible and cost-effective proposal that will have an immediate impact on protecting local residents and their crops from flooding in the event of the Gawler River breaking its banks.”

Known as the Northern Floodway Project, the plan involves a new levee system downstream of Old Port Wakefield Road and existing levee bank upgrades between Pederick Road and Port Wakefield Road.

Selective levee upgrades upstream of Pederick Road would also be undertaken.

Andrea said the GRFMA believes the project will protect hundreds of properties and livelihoods, and reduce costly disruption to the region in the event of flooding in the area.

Andrea met with GRFMA Chair Ian Baldwin and Executive Officer David Hitchcock on Sunday to be briefed on the Northern Floodway Project which has the support of six local councils in the catchment area.

“I am impressed by the forward thinking and cost effectiveness of the proposal which has secured $900,000 of State Government support,” Andrea said.

“If elected, I will work proactively to secure the matching funds of $900,000 that will further scope the project in partnership with the GRFMA and State Government,” she said.

“Together, we can then work towards funding the implementation with a proposed budget of $27 million for its completion, with ongoing maintenance and operations to be contributed by the six local councils.

“This has the potential to be a significant employment project, including Aboriginal people in Caring for Country and I would love to encourage partnerships with programs like Indigenous Rangers, disability employment and employment service providers so that local people can be part of this exciting project initiative.

“The Gawler River Floodplain Management Authority is an authority established under the local Government Act. It is a group of people contributing skills and ideas across many years seeking a solution to mitigate the damage of flooding in the Gawler River Catchment.

“The model it is proposing is one that could be a test case for this sort of partnership in other regions of Australia.”

“This is an excellent opportunity for government to plan in advance, protect our food security, mitigate flood damage, create local employment and address rising insurance costs which are imposed on areas where risk is higher.

“With the last flood in 2015 causing $50 million damage we are already three years closer to the predicted 10 year flood event, demonstrated by the flood records of the last 160 years.

“The time is now to progress this project which has the full support of Centre Alliance, and something I will advocate strongly for – on both a federal and state level – if I am elected on 18 May.”

/Centre Alliance Public Release. View in full here.