Technical ReportPDF Available

Report of the 2012 North East Flood Review

Authors:
Report of the 2012 North East Victoria
Flood Review
TRIM ID: CD/12/448164*
Date: 2 October 2012
Version: Final
OFFICE of the EMERGENCY SERVICES COMMISSIONER
FINAL REPORT
for
Emergency Services Commissioner
Department of Justice
Prepared by
Molino Stewart Pty Ltd
OCTOBER 2012
iv Department of Justice
CONTENTS
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY 7
Key findings 7
Introduction 7
Summary of findings 8
Further analysis 10
1 INTRODUCTION 12
1.1 Terms of reference 12
1.2 The 2012 North East Victoria Flood 12
1.2.1 Flood behaviour 12
1.2.2 Emergency management response 16
1.2.3 Flood impacts 18
1.3 The study area 18
1.3.1 Demographics 19
1.3.2 Land use 21
1.4 This report 21
2 METHODOLOGY 22
2.1 OESC Performance Monitoring Framework 22
2.2 Lines of enquiry 22
2.3 Primary data sources 22
2.3.1 Community survey 22
2.3.2 Stakeholder interviews 23
2.3.3 Workforce survey 24
2.3.4 Public submissions 24
2.4 Secondary data sources 24
2.5 Limitations 25
3 FINDINGS 26
3.1 Community preparedness 26
3.1.1 Risk awareness 26
3.1.2 Community pre-planning 26
3.1.3 Involvement in mitigation planning 27
3.1.4 Understanding of roles 27
3.1.5 Self-efficacy 28
3.1.6 Vulnerable people 28
3.2 Effectiveness of public information and warnings 29
3.2.1 Threat information sources 29
3.2.2 Timeliness of information 29
3.2.3 Satisfaction with flood threat information 30
3.2.4 Access to information during the flood 30
3.2.5 Information sources during the flood 31
3.2.6 Ways to improve community information 31
3.2.7 Community actions to lessen flood impact 31
3.2.8 Evacuation warnings 32
3.3 Effectiveness of incident management arrangements 33
3.3.1 Assistance required by communities 33
3.3.2 Community confidence in the planned response by emergency services 33
3.3.3 Community ideas for improvement 34
3.3.4 Seamless and integrated approach 34
3.3.5 Interoperability of personnel 35
3.3.6 Interoperability of information and communication systems 36
3.3.7 Incident management coordination and communication 36
3.3.8 Local level input used in incident management 37
3.3.9 Understanding of ESPs’ roles and responsibilities 37
3.3.10 Timely and quality decisions made by ESPs 38
3.3.11 Timely and adequate intelligence 38
3.3.12 Were plans enacted? 39
3.3.13 Improvements in incident management 39
3.3.14 Requests for support 39
3.3.15 Support for vulnerable people 40
3.3.16 Access to support and essential services 40
3.3.17 Assessment of impacts 40
3.4 Summary of findings 40
4 DISCUSSION 41
4.1 Key issues 42
4.1.1 Flood planning and mitigation 42
4.1.2 Total flood warning system 44
4.1.3 Community flood education 45
4.1.4 Summary of prevention and preparedness 46
4.1.5 Local knowledge 46
4.1.6 March 2012 flood prediction 48
4.1.7 Local emergency management coordination 49
4.1.8 Why the Numurkah Hospital flooded 49
4.2 Comparison with the Review of the 2010-11 Flood Warnings and Response 53
4.2.1 Review of the 2010-11 Flood Warnings and Response 53
4.2.2 Comparison 53
5 CONCLUSION 56
6 REFERENCES 57
GLOSSARY OF TERMS 59
APPENDICES
Appendix A – Review Lines of Enquiry and summary of findings
vi Department of Justice
Appendix B – Sample of stakeholder interview questions
LIST OF TABLES
Table 1: Summary of key emergency management response actions focussing on the
Broken Creek catchment 16
Table 2: Self-efficacy of respondents 28
Table 3: Respondents’ assessment of timeliness of threat information 30
Table 4: Selected significant differences in community survey responses from Nathalia
and Numurkah 41
Table 5: Some significant differences between Nathalia and Numurkah in relation to
prevention and preparedness 46
Table 6: Rainfall for locations in and around the Broken Creek catchment related to
the1993 flood and 2012 flood 47
Table 7: Flood peaks and flows in the Broken River and Broken Creek catchments in
1993 flood and 2012 flood 48
LIST OF FIGURES
Figure 1: Towns affected by flooding and at risk as at 4 March 2012 13
Figure 2: Indicative flood extent and flood peak timing for the Broken Creek catchment as
at 5 March 2012 14
Figure 3: Analysis of flood peaks (1 March 2012 to 18 March 2012) in the Broken Creek
catchment 15
Figure 4: Residential impacts – March 2012 North East Flood 20
Figure 5: Rating of multi-agency response from the workforce survey 36
Figure 6: 100 year ARI flood map for Numurkah (2008) 50
Figure 7: Analysis of flood predictions for Numurkah 51
Figure 8: Analysis of flood predictions at Nathalia 52
7
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
KEY FINDINGS
Community flood awareness levels were relatively high across the area impacted by the 2012
March flood, however this did not translate strongly into preparedness behaviours.
Public warnings and information were generally effective, except in a few communities, such as
Numurkah.
The planned response by the emergency services was generally effective in some communities,
such as Tallygaroopna and Nathalia, but not in others, such as Numurkah.
The Numurkah Hospital flooded before any warning had been received or preventative action
taken. This was due largely to a combination of the following factors:
- a flood warning system that was unable to provide accurate and timely data - a lack of river
gauges that could have enabled more reliable prediction
- reliance on historical precedents whereas the 2012 flood displayed a number of very different
characteristics
- limited coordination of the local emergency services.
Some Victoria State Emergency Service volunteers had not been trained to fulfil the leadership
roles expected of them1.
INTRODUCTION
Heavy rain fell across North East Victoria during late February and early March 2012 causing record
flooding in some parts of the Goulburn-Broken river system.
The most flood-affected watercourse was Broken Creek and its associated tributaries, such as Boosey
Creek, Muckatah Creek and Major Creek. The extent of flooding in the Broken Creek catchment was
70,000 hectares. Townships in this catchment include Numurkah, Nathalia, Tungamah and
Katamatite, Lake Rowan, Wilby, Invergordon, Wunghnu and Naring.
The Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) has the responsibility for monitoring and prediction of weather
events in Victoria. It uses a range of data to forecast and make flood predictions which are
subsequently communicated to the public and emergency service providers (ESPs) as Flood Watches
and Flood Warnings2. The Victoria State Emergency Service (VICSES) release flood bulletins based
on a range of predictions and intelligence sourced from the BoM and Goulburn Broken Catchment
Management Authority (GBCMA). In addition to the flood predictions and river heights, the bulletins
provide additional information of possible consequences and localised public safety advice actions.
VICSES is the agency nominated to control response activities to flood in Victoria.
Emergency services, including VICSES, the Country Fire Authority (CFA), the Department of
Sustainability and Environment (DSE) and Victoria Police, worked with Local Government in the area
to conduct a series of incident management actions to warn communities and help ensure their safety
during the flood. This report recognises the efforts and valuable contribution of all volunteers that
willingly gave their time to support their communities.
It is also recognised that the emergency services and other agencies were operating in a dynamic
environment and, as is the case with this review, decisions taken by them at the time have then been
scrutinised by others who now have the benefit of hindsight.
1 The report notes that VICSES has now developed, and is delivering a sector and divisional commander course.
2 http://www.bom.gov.au/hydro/flood/flooding.shtml
8
The flood had significant impacts on property and infrastructure; for example roads and irrigation
across the affected area. Fortunately there were no fatalities. Of particular concern was the evacuation
of inpatients at Numurkah Hospital on Sunday 4 March after floodwaters had started to enter the
building.
As part of its role to provide assurance on the effectiveness of Victoria’s emergency management
arrangements, the Office of the Emergency Services Commissioner (OESC) coordinated an
independent review of the 2012 March North East Victoria Flood. The OESC engaged consultants
Molino Stewart Pty Ltd to help conduct the review.
The terms of reference for the Review were:
1. Assessment of community preparedness and the effectiveness of public information and
warnings issued during the event
2. Determination of the effectiveness of elements of incident management arrangements as it
relates to response, planning and strategies implemented prior to, during and immediately
following the event.
3. To compare the findings against the recommendations of the Review of the 2010-11 Flood
Warnings and Response.
In consultation with the OESC, Molino Stewart developed a review plan relating to the terms of
reference and the draft OESC Performance Monitoring Framework (the Framework). The review used
a range of data sources. These included:
a community survey of over 500 flood-affected residents conducted by Strahan Research Pty Ltd
interviews conducted by Molino Stewart with 16 emergency services personnel that were
involved in the flood at state, regional and local levels
an online survey conducted by VICSES of almost 200 emergency service personnel involved in
the flood
submissions from the public about the flood
written evidence including emergency agency reports, media articles and maps.
SUMMARY OF FINDINGS
Preparedness
The review found that on average about three-quarters of residents surveyed across the flood-affected
areas were aware of the flood risk. However, this awareness did not translate strongly into
preparedness behaviours, with only on average 35 percent saying they had an emergency kit
available before the flood, and less than ten percent saying they had a written emergency plan.
About one-third of those surveyed said they had been involved in flood planning prior to the flood.
There was a strong self-confidence displayed in dealing with a flood, with over 90 percent of
community survey respondents believing they could keep themselves safe in a flood, and 87 percent
believing they could keep their family safe.
VICSES is the control agency for flood in Victoria. When surveyed, the majority of people recognised
this fact and also the supporting role of the other emergency services, such as the CFA.
Only one of the three councils in the flood-affected area had an up-to-date register of vulnerable
people (for example elderly, sick, disabled) prior to the flood.
9
Effectiveness of public information and warnings
Flood watches and warnings (predictions) are issued by the BoM where flood warning systems are
available. When the BoM issues a flood watch or warning, VICSES prepares a flood bulletin using
available information or flood intelligence, and provides a description of possible flood consequences
and specific localised public safety advice and actions. These bulletins are distributed to the
community through the media and are available from the VICSES website. Thus VICSES is
dependent on the BoM for flood warning predictions. Depending on the urgency of a warning, an
Emergency Alert warning message may also be issued to mobile telephones with a billing address in
the area and individual landlines in the area.
The review found that people first learnt about the flood mainly by observing the heavy rain, and also
through radio, television and from warnings from others in the community. Over three-quarters of
people surveyed felt these first warnings were timely enough to protect themselves, their family and
property. About two-thirds were satisfied with the way in which they first found out about the flood. The
main reason for satisfaction was that the warning was early; “lack of warning”, was the main reason for
dissatisfaction of the remaining one-third.
A large majority of people were able to obtain information they needed about the flood as it
progressed. During the flood, the main information sources that people used were neighbours,
emergency services, television and ABC Local Radio.
About half of the people surveyed reported taking some action during the flood to lessen the impact of
the flood. The main actions were checking on family and friends, monitoring the flood through listening
to radio and television, and checking on vulnerable people.
Evacuation warnings were issued to some communities in the flood-affected area. About one-third of
people across the area confirmed that they received an evacuation warning. According to those
surveyed, the main source of evacuation warnings was Emergency Alert. About 14 percent of those
surveyed believed they should have received an evacuation warning but did not receive one.
About 20 percent of those surveyed said they evacuated (whether they received an evacuation
warning or not). About two-thirds of those surveyed in Nathalia that evacuated did so as soon as they
received the first evacuation warning.
People said they evacuated mainly to ensure the safety of their family. The main reason for not
evacuating was that people did not believe their property, their safety and the safety of their family was
threatened.
Evacuees tended to go to stay with friends and family. Only about five percent of the evacuees said
they went to an evacuation centre. There were some accounts from people in Nathalia that they were
told to go to the evacuation centre at Cobram and encountered the evacuation route cut in places by
rising floodwaters.
Effectiveness of incident management arrangements
About one-fifth of those people surveyed said they required assistance; for example sandbagging,
from the emergency services. About three-quarters of these people said they were satisfied or very
satisfied with the assistance they received. The main reason for satisfaction was that the emergency
services were “helpful and prompt”. About 18 percent of respondents were dissatisfied with the
assistance they received. The main reason for dissatisfaction was that people did not receive the
assistance they required or it was inadequate.
The majority of people from the flood-affected communities were confident that the planned response
by the emergency services would protect themselves and their community. The main reason for this
confidence was that the emergency services were well-organised, efficient and knew what they were
doing. Confidence levels were lowest in Numurkah. The main reasons for lack of confidence related to
lack of assistance and little or no warning (mainly due to a lack of recognition of the speed of the flood
peak by the emergency services).
10
The majority of agency personnel interviewed thought that incident management during the flood
could have been improved. The main concerns related to gaps in flood intelligence data, the lack of
capacity of VICSES during scaling up for the flood, and communication issues between the
Shepparton Incident Control Centre (ICC), local Divisional Commands and field crews. On the other
hand, there appeared to be effective relationships between the state and regional incident
management levels.
The majority of agency personnel (state, regional, local) surveyed believed that the emergency
services worked well together, although this view was less supported by field personnel. However,
several personnel interviewed raised concerns about the agencies using incompatible information
systems and different radio frequencies.
The majority of agency personnel interviewed thought that the use of local intelligence/knowledge
could have been improved in incident management. The main reason for this was the “poor
communication” between the Shepparton ICC and Divisional Commands at Nathalia and Numurkah
(based on anecdotal evidence). Both Divisional Commands and the Numurkah VICSES Unit felt that
the ICC was not listening to the local input (including real-time observations) they were providing. This
also was the main reason for the majority of personnel interviewed feeling that there was not a clear
understanding of roles and responsibilities, especially at the local level.
The lack of training of some VICSES personnel in using the Australasian Inter-service Incident
Management System (AIIMS) was identified as an issue in the review.
FURTHER ANALYSIS
The response in Numurkah
The community survey responses for Numurkah in comparison to the other flood-affected townships
were, in most cases, significantly different. Of particular note was Numurkah’s:
lower flood risk perception
lower level of preparedness
less involvement in flood planning
less perceived flood warning time
lower level of confidence in the planned response.
This, coupled with emergency service interviewee concerns about flood prediction and intelligence,
prompted the need for further investigation. It was hoped that this further analysis would also help
explain the late evacuation of Numurkah hospital.
Using a comparison between Nathalia and Numurkah, further investigation was conducted into
elements that might cause the variation in Numurkah’s community survey responses.
The investigation found that there were marked differences between the level of flood planning,
mitigation and community education in the two towns prior to the flood including:
Nathalia had a levee to help protect the town; Numurkah had no levee. However, studies have
shown that without floodplain management interventions (for example levees) a greater part of
Nathalia is threatened by flooding.
Nathalia had a floodplain management plan that included a flood study providing intelligence
about potential flood behaviour up to the Probable Maximum Flood (PMF), and management
options to help manage the town’s flood risk. Numurkah had a completed flood study but no
floodplain management plan at the time of the flood. Both studies had limitations on predictive
value as they referenced the 1993 flood.
11
Nathalia had a flood warning system using three upstream river gauges and one at the town. This
system would greatly help flood prediction by the BoM. On the other hand, there was no
permanent river gauge at Numurkah on Broken Creek – predictions there were dependent on two
upstream gauges which only partially covered flows from the upstream catchment.
There was a more complex hydrology upstream of Numurkah than Nathalia, thus making
prediction of flood behaviour more difficult at Numurkah.
Nathalia had a community education reference group that had implemented several education
and engagement activities in the town to help raise risk awareness, increase preparedness levels
and understanding of the flood warning system. Numurkah had received little flood education
prior to the flood, and that was limited to a few activities in FloodSafe Week in 20111.
Flood studies for Numurkah and Nathalia were based on historical data such, as the behaviour of the
1993 flood, and had not considered the potential for substantial change in the rate of the flood wave
that was experienced in the 2012 flood. The main reason for the variance in 1993 and 2012 flood
behaviour was the different location of upstream heavy rainfall. In October 1993 there was relatively
little rainfall over the Broken Creek catchment, with an average of about 120 mm falling in five days.
The 1993 flood was caused by the large volume of water breaking away from the Broken River at
Casey’s Weir downstream of Benalla. On the other hand, there was close to record rainfall recorded in
the Broken Creek catchment in March 2012, with an average of 250 mm in six days. However, the
Broken River catchment received considerably less rain and did not even produce minor flooding at
Benalla. Although the flood peak arrived far earlier than predicted at Numurkah, the flood size was
similar to that of the 1993 flood.
In the absence of any formal warning system at Numurkah, the BoM (in its early flood warnings), the
ICC and the local community acted on the assumption that the behaviour of the 1993 flood and the
March 2012 flood were similar. As there was no flood warning system and limited flood intelligence, it
would have been difficult to accurately predict the size and timing of the 2012 flood peak for
Numurkah, especially given the record height of the flood.
This factor, plus the poor local coordination of the Numurkah Divisional Command and the VICSES
Unit, meant that Numurkah Hospital was not warned about the flood threat, and therefore measures
put in place to protect the hospital were not triggered until after floodwaters entered the building.
It should be noted that the prediction of both flood height and time was very accurate for Nathalia.
Using its permanent levee augmented by demountable levees, the town was protected from
floodwaters on this occasion.
The above demonstrates that with appropriate holistic floodplain risk management measures in place
(for example flood mitigation, flood warning systems, adequate gauge coverage, well-coordinated
local incident management) there is a greater ability to reduce the impacts on property, ensure safety
and build community resilience.
Comparison with the Review of the 2010-11 Flood Warnings and Response
It was not the intention of this review to track progress against the findings and recommendations of
the Review of the 2010-11 Flood Warnings and Response. However, some similar findings were
identified including:
the importance of having a flood warning system using river gauges and associated telemetry
the need for ongoing flood mapping and community education programs
the use of local real-time input through trained flood observers
clear command and control is required across all levels of incident management.
1 Since the flood event VICSES has recently received funding to employ twelve (12) Community Education officers around the
state over three years commencing 2011/12.
12
1 INTRODUCTION
1.1 TERMS OF REFERENCE
As part of its role to provide assurance on the effectiveness of Victoria’s emergency management
arrangements, OESC coordinated an independent review of the 2012 March North East Victoria
Flood.
The OESC engaged consultants Molino Stewart Pty Ltd to help conduct the review using the draft
Framework (Section 2.1).
The terms of reference for the Review were:
1. Assessment of community preparedness and the effectiveness of public information and
warnings issued during the event. (see findings Section 3.1 and 3.2)
2. Determination of the effectiveness of elements of incident management arrangements as it
relates to response, planning and strategies implemented prior to, during and immediately
following the event. (see findings Section 3.3)
3. To compare the findings against the recommendations of the Review of the 2010-11 Flood
Warnings and Response. (see Section 4.2)
1.2 THE 2012 NORTH EAST VICTORIA FLOOD
1.2.1 Flood behaviour
Heavy rain fell across North East Victoria during late February and early March 2012. Over six days
(28 February to 4 March), 200-300 mm fell across large areas of this part of the State, with most of the
rain falling on two days – 28 February and 1 March 2012.
It should be noted that the soil would have been saturated due to above-average rain in the area over
the past two years. This saturation level would have caused most rain to run off during the
February/March rainfall event, thus causing flooding.
The 2012 North East Victoria flood was primarily in the eastern part of the Goulburn-Broken system,
with some flooding along the upper parts of the Murray River; for example at Walwa. Some towns
along the Kiewa, Mitta Mitta, Ovens and King Rivers were also at risk of flooding. A map showing
towns affected by flooding and at risk as at 4 March is provided (Figure 1).
The most flood-affected watercourse was Broken Creek and its associated tributaries, such as Boosey
Creek, Muckatah Creek and Major Creek. In the 2012 March event, the extent of flooding in the
Broken Creek catchment was 70,000 hectares. Townships in this catchment include Numurkah,
Nathalia, Tungamah and Katamatite (see Section 1.3 for more details). When not in flood, streamflow
across the Broken Creek catchment is variable - both annually and seasonally - and has been
modified for agricultural activities (see Section 1.3.2).
Figures 2 and 3 give an insight into the flood behaviour in the Broken Creek catchment during the
March 2012 event. The Figure 2 map was prepared by emergency services on 5 March, the day after
the flood peaked at Numurkah. It shows that the flood peak travelled about 20 kms (straight line
distance) in one day from Katamatite to Numurkah, but would then take another four days to travel
approximately the same straight line distance to Nathalia.
Figure 3 supports this view of flood peak timing, based on post-flood data analysis. It shows that the
peak in fact took only 14 hours to travel between Katamatite and Numurkah, whereas, as predicted, it
took four days to travel between Numurkah and Nathalia.
13
Figure 1: Towns affected by flooding and at risk as at 4 March 2012 (Source: Victoria State Emergency Service)
14
Figure 2: Indicative flood extent and flood peak timing for the Broken Creek catchment as at 5 March 2012 (Source: Victoria State Emergency Service)
15
Figure 3: Analysis of flood peaks (1 March 2012 to 18 March 2012) in the Broken Creek catchment (Source: Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority)
16
In terms of flood height, the 2012 flood broke several records (Goulburn Broken Catchment
Management Authority, 2012):
Tungamah: Peaked at 2.88m, 1 March (record flood and 80mm higher than 1974 flood)
Katamatite: Peaked at 3.10m, 3 March (record flood and 300mm higher than 1974 flood)
Nathalia: Peaked 3.26m, 8 March (record flood and 180mm higher than the 1993 flood)
Although there is no permanent gauge at Numurkah, a temporary gauge was installed, which showed
Broken Creek peaked on 4 March at a level higher than the flood of 1974 by 150 to 280 mm.
Floods were the largest on record and exceeded the current 100-year Average Recurrence Interval
(ARI) flood for areas upstream of Walshs Bridge near Nathalia. Downstream of Walshs Bridge the
floods were indicative of the 100-year ARI flood.
1.2.2 Emergency management response
Specific control and coordination arrangements during an emergency, including a flood, are outlined in
the Emergency Management Manual Victoria (EMMV). The EMMV identifies VICSES as the agency
nominated to control response activities to flood in Victoria. The Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) has the
responsibility for monitoring and prediction in Victoria. Victoria Police retains the responsibility for
emergency services coordination during a flood. The EMMV also details the responsibilities of several
other agencies involved in flood management including local councils, CMAs, CFA, DSE and
Department of Human Services (DHS).
Emergency services implemented a series of actions (eg. Emergency Alerts, BoM issuing flood
warnings) during the 2012 floods to warn communities and help ensure safety. The efforts of all
volunteers that willingly gave their time to assist their communities should be acknowledged.
Some of the key actions are summarised in Table 1; particularly in relation to the Broken Creek
catchment.
Table 1: Summary of key emergency management response actions focussing on the Broken Creek catchment
Date
Location Action‐ESPsandtheBoM4
Sun 26 Feb
GoulburnBrokenBasins
UpperMurray,Kiewa,Mitta
Mitta,Ovens,Kingcatchments
FloodWatch(BoM)
Mon 27 Feb BooseyCreekareaincluding
TungamahandKatamatite;
Tallygaroopnaarea
CommunityupdateviaOneSourceOneMessage
(OSOM)(BenallaRCC)
VICSESEmergency
ManagementLiaisonOfficer
deployedtoTallygaroopna
TallygaroopnaandBooseyCreekscommunity
meeting(BenallaRCC)
Wed 29 Feb
Preparetoevacuatefor
TallygaroopnaandCongupnaSentviaEmergencyAlert(BenallaRCC)
Thurs 1 Mar EvacuationcommunityupdateSentviaOSOM
4 The source of the information included in BoM warning messages for the Broken Creek was Goulburn Broken CMA as part of
its local flood monitoring responsibility
17
forTallygaroopna
BrokenRiver(includingBroken
Creekcatchment)
MinorfloodwarningfromBoM,sentviaOSOM
(BenallaRCC)
SheppartonICCestablished
Fri 2 Mar
BrokenCreek
FloodwarningsfromBoM,minorfloodwarning
sentviaOSOM(SheppartonICC);flood
communityupdates(SheppartonICC)
Sat 3 Mar BrokenCreek
FloodwarningsfromBoM,minorfloodwarning
sentviaOSOM(SheppartonICC);flood
communityupdates(SheppartonICC)
Sun 4 Mar BrokenCreek
FloodwarningsfromBoM,minorfloodwarnings
sentviaOSOM(SheppartonICC)including
relatedtoNumurkah;floodcommunityupdates
(SheppartonICC);communitymeetings
includingatNumurkah
Walwa(MurrayRiver)“Evacuatenow”warningsentbyEmergency
Alert,OSOM(WangarattaICC)
Mon 5 Mar
BrokenCreek
FloodwarningsfromBoM,majorfloodwarnings
sentviaOSOM(SheppartonICC);flood
communityupdates(SheppartonICC)
BrokenCreek
FloodwarningsfromBoM;communitymeetings
includingatNumurkah;majorfloodwarnings
sentviaOSOM(SheppartonICC);flood
communityupdates(SheppartonICC);
communitynewsletter
Tues 6 Mar
Nathalia“Preparetoevacuate”warningsentviaOSOM
(SheppartonICC)
BrokenCreek
FloodwarningsfromBoM;majorfloodwarnings
sentviaOSOM(SheppartonICC);Numurkah
recoverymeeting;Nathaliacommunitymeeting;
floodcommunityupdates(SheppartonICC);
communitynewsletter
Wed 7 Mar
Nathaliaruralareasoutside
levee
“Preparetoevacuate”sentviaOSOM
(SheppartonICC)
BrokenCreek
FloodwarningsfromBoM;majorfloodwarnings
sentviaOSOM(SheppartonICC);flood
communityupdates(SheppartonICC);
Wed 8 Mar
Nathaliainsidethelevee
“Preparetoevacuate”sentviaEmergencyAlert
(SheppartonICC);“evacuateimmediately”
warningsentbyOSOM(SheppartonICC)
18
BrokenCreek
FloodwarningsfromBoM;majorfloodwarnings
sentviaOSOM(SheppartonICC);flood
communityupdates(SheppartonICC);
Thurs 9 Mar
NathaliaFloodevacuationupdate;communitymeeting
response
1.2.3 Flood impacts
The 2012 floods had significant impacts on property across the area affected. There were no fatalities.
Figure 4 provides details of damaged properties across the flood area. It shows that 135 residences
were damaged by floodwaters in Moira Shire (93 of which were in Numurkah). A further 31 residences
were damaged in Greater Shepparton City. There was also extensive damage to local roads, irrigation
infrastructure and to farm properties.
As reflected in numerous media articles, of particular community concern was the evacuation of
inpatients at Numurkah Hospital on 4 March after floodwaters had started to enter the building.
1.3 THE STUDY AREA
The study area is that impacted by the March 2012 flood event. As shown in Figure 4, the study is
mainly in the local government areas (LGAs) of Moira and Greater Shepparton.
Flood-affected communities in Moira Shire included:
Numurkah
Nathalia
Wunghnu
Tungamah
Lake Rowan
Wilby
Invergordon
Naring
Katamatite
Flood-affected communities in Greater Shepparton City included:
Tallygaroopna
Congupna
Other flood-affected communities included Walwa (Towong Shire).
19
1.3.1 Demographics
The communities in the study area are predominantly service centres for the surrounding agricultural
area.
Numurkah is located on Broken Creek, which flows west into the Murray River north of the town of
Barmah. The population of Numurkah in 2011 was 4,768 (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2012). This
is a slight increase from 2006 when the population was 4,653.
Numurkah has a population with approximately 54 percent aged 45 years or older. Almost all the
inhabitants speak English and were born in Australia. Approximately 90 percent of houses in the town
are separate houses, with the remainder being mainly flats or apartments in a one or two storey block.
Nathalia is also located on the banks of Broken Creek. The population of Nathalia in 2011 was 1,902
(Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2012). This is a significant increase from 2006 when the population
was 1,431.
Nathalia has a slightly younger population than Numurkah, with approximately 48 percent aged 45
years or older. Like Numurkah, almost all the inhabitants speak English and were born in Australia.
Approximately 97 percent of houses in Nathalia are separate houses with the remainder being mainly
flats or caravans and cabins.
Tallygaroopna is located in the Goulburn River floodplain. The population of Tallygaroopna in 2011
was 573 (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2012). This is a significant increase from 2006 when the
population was 270, possibly due to nearby Shepparton’s growth.
Tallygaroopna also has a younger population than Numurkah with approximately 45 percent aged 45
years or older. Most inhabitants speak English and were born in Australia. All houses in the town are
separate houses.
The other flood-affected communities are of similar size to or smaller size than Tallygaroopna.
20
Figure 4: Residential impacts – March 2012 North East Flood (Source: Victoria State Emergency Service)
21
1.3.2 Land use
A large proportion of the study area is used for agriculture – both dryland and irrigation. Approximately
one-third of the Broken Creek catchment is under irrigation. Goulburn-Murray Water provides water
services to irrigators in this area.
Flow from the floodplain of the Broken River and Broken Creek has been extensively modified by
agriculture and urban development, especially the construction of irrigation water supply channels and
return drains (Cottingham et al, 2001). Flow is diverted from Broken River into Broken Creek via a
diversion channel at Casey’s Weir. These diversions are undertaken all year round to meet stock and
domestic demands and in the drier months to meet irrigation demands.
Mean annual streamflow for the Broken Basin is approximately 325 gigalitres (GL), with an average
flow of approximately 236 GL in the Broken River below Casey’s Weir and an average flow of
approximately 71 GL in Broken Creek at Rice’s Weir (Department of Water Resources, 1989).
Streamflow is variable, both annually and seasonally, and is modified by the following processes:
the presence and operation of Lake Nillahcootie
the construction of irrigation supply and drainage schemes
the presence and operation of numerous weirs, both on the Broken River and Broken Creek
progressive extraction of water from the Broken River and Broken Creek for irrigation and stock
and domestic water supply
changes to the form of the channel due to channelisation and snag removal
changes to floodplain drainage through the construction of levees and drains.
1.4 THIS REPORT
This report was prepared by Molino Stewart for the Emergency Services Commissioner.
The report provides an outline of the review methodology in Section 2. In Section 3, the report
presents the main findings of the review in relation to the Terms of Reference (Section 1.1). Section 3
also provides a summary of findings in relation to the Framework (see Section 2.1).
Section 4 is a reflection and discussion of the main issues emanating from Section 3. In particular, it
compares and contrasts findings related to Numurkah and Nathalia, and attempts to identify reasons
for these differences. Section 5 is the report conclusion and Section 6 lists the references cited in the
review.
22
2 METHODOLOGY
2.1 OESC PERFORMANCE MONITORING FRAMEWORK (draft)
As part of its role to provide assurance on the effectiveness of Victoria’s emergency management
arrangements, the OESC is developing a Performance Monitoring Framework (Framework) to track
the performance of elements of emergency management across all hazards. Once finalised, the
Framework will enable the OESC to use a consistent post-incident approach to measure performance
to support improvement across the emergency services sector.
Using the Framework across the spectrum of Prevention, Preparedness, Response and Recovery
(PPRR), the Framework lists a series of Expectations with accompanying Key Performance Questions
and Performance Measures/Evidence. The section of Framework relevant to the Terms of Reference
of this review is provided in Appendix A.
2.2 LINES OF ENQUIRY
The Lines of Enquiry (evaluation plan) are the starting point or basis for the review. The Lines of
Enquiry also identify the data sources (Sections 2.3 and 2.4) related to the relevant parts of the
Framework (Section 2.1).
In consultation with the OESC, Molino Stewart refined the Lines of Enquiry prior to starting the review.
The final Lines of Enquiry are provided in Appendix A.
2.3 PRIMARY DATA SOURCES
Primary data sources were the first-hand evidence provided by participants or observers at the time of
events. As outlined in the Lines of Enquiry (Appendix A), the following main primary sources were
used in the review:
community survey responses (see Section 2.3.1)
stakeholder interview responses (Section 2.3.2)
workforce survey responses (Section 2.3.3)
public submissions about the flood (Section 2.3.4)
media releases
maps (see Section 1 for examples)
emergency agency de-briefs
emergency agency situational reports for example by the intelligence cell at the Shepparton
Incident Control Centre (ICC).
2.3.1 Community survey
Strahan Research Pty Ltd was engaged by the OESC to conduct a community telephone survey. The
questions were developed in consultation with the OESC and Molino Stewart.
“The objective of this research was to elicit the actual experience of households of the flood events
and to understand their attitudes, values and expectations of emergency management information,
processes and response services related to the flood”.
23
Specifically the research addressed:
risk perception of floods including plans and risk management
household and community planning for floods
experience of and satisfaction with emergency response
official warnings and information sources
householder experiences, decisions and actions
evacuation experience
demographics including age, gender, disability, income group, language spoken at home and
geographic location.
A telephone survey of 528 households was conducted in ten targeted localities in North-East Victoria
between 10th and 21 July 2012. These were categorised into four areas.
Numurkah area (Numurkah)
Nathalia area (Nathalia)
Mid-area (Congupna, Katandra West, Tallygaroopna, Wunghnu/Karimba)
Remaining areas (Barmah/Picola, Katamatite, Tungamah, Walwa).
A stratified sample was drawn from these. Applying a confidence limit of 95 percent, the total sample
results are within 3.9 percent of population values of all areas surveyed.
The demographics of the survey can be compared with that from the Australian Bureau of Statistics
(2012), part of which is outlined in Section 1.3.1. Of note in terms of differences is the older population
surveyed (71 percent were 45 years and older) compared with the average of about 50 percent were
45 years and over across the study area from the 2011 census data. Also, in terms of gender, 58.7
percent of the surveyed population were female compared with 48 percent across the study area from
the 2011 census data.
About 60 percent of the survey respondents lived in a house in a residential area, with almost all of the
others living on a farm or rural residential property.
The findings of the survey are summarised and related to the Terms of Reference in Section 1.1.
2.3.2 Stakeholder interviews
Stakeholders from across the emergency services that were involved in the flood were also seen by
the OESC as an important source of evidence for the review. Molino Stewart, in consultation with the
OESC, prepared a set of stakeholder interview questions in relation to the Lines of Enquiry prior to the
interviews. A sample of the interview questions is provided in Appendix B.
The following organisations were interviewed by Molino Stewart:
VICSES
Country Fire Authority
Parks Victoria
Victoria Police
Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority
Department of Sustainability and Environment
Greater Shepparton City Council
24
Towong Shire Council
Moira Shire Council
The BoM was interviewed by the OESC.
The interviews were conducted with personnel from State, Regional, Incident Control Centre (ICC)
and Divisional Command levels. A total of 17 interviews were conducted from 17 to 27 July 2012.
The findings of the stakeholder interviews are summarised and related to the Terms of Reference in
Section 1.1.
2.3.3 Workforce survey
An online survey (undertaken as part of VICSES’ After Action Review) of the field workforce that was
involved in the emergency management response was conducted by VICSES using Survey Monkey.
There were three categories of workforce personnel interviewed:
1. Incident management personnel (70 responses to the survey)
2. Specialist support personnel (19 responses)
3. Field operations personnel (108 responses)
Although the survey was conducted independently to this review, there are some questions that can
provide evidence to support the Lines of Enquiry (Appendix A), and relevant responses are
summarised in Section 3.1.
2.3.4 Public submissions
The OESC advertised the review data collection process (including the community survey) to
communities in the study area during July 2012. It also provided the opportunity for members of these
communities to provide written submissions regarding the flood during this period. Only five written
submissions were received; however, these do provide individual insight into the flood that have been
analysed and used; particularly in Section 4.
2.4 ADDITIONAL DATA SOURCES
Secondary sources are materials that digest, analyse, evaluate and interpret information contained
within primary sources or other secondary sources. Related to the Lines of Enquiry, the main
secondary sources accessed for this review were:
legislation
plans
policies
procedures
census reports
technical flood reports
previous flood reviews (see Section 4.3).
These secondary sources are listed in the references (Section 6).
25
2.5 LIMITATIONS
There are some limitations that should be acknowledged for this review.
1. Due to the time elapsed (four months) after the flood event, the memory of details for those
interviewed may have blurred. Ideally, the community survey should be conducted within one
month after the flood event to enable specific details of the incident to be retained by
respondents.
2. The survey respondents are self-reporting their preparedness levels; for example written
emergency plans, emergency kits, and the responses could not be validated through proof of
these preparedness activities.
3. There was a small sample of stakeholder interviewees from those involved in the flood
incident. It should be noted, therefore, that the results in Section 3.2, relating to the
stakeholder responses, are based on this small sample and should only be viewed as
indicative.
4. As there was no river gauge at Numurkah, no prediction capability was possible, nor was
there any meaningful flood intelligence available (further discussed in Section 4).
26
3 FINDINGS
3.1 COMMUNITY PREPAREDNESS
3.1.1 Risk awareness
Risk perception is one factor that may lead to preparedness and appropriate response (Paton,
McClure, & Burgelt, 2006; Grothmann and Reusswig, 2006).
Respondents to the community survey were asked if they were aware there was a flood risk in the
area prior to the floods. The survey found that about three-quarters of respondents across the study
area said they were aware there was a flood risk in their area prior to the floods.
There was a variation across the communities of the study area. Nathalia had the highest level of
reported flood risk awareness (90.7 percent) compared with the Mid-area settlements (see Section
2.3.1), with only 66 percent, and Numurkah with 73.8 percent.
3.1.2 Community pre-planning
Emergency kit
The VICSES FloodSafe program promotes the preparation of an emergency kit as an important flood
preparedness precaution for members of the community. The preparation of the kit is, therefore, one
indicator of community preparedness. The emergency kit includes a torch, first aid kit and battery-
powered radio.
Respondents to the community survey were asked if they had prepared an emergency kit. Thirty-five
percent of respondents across the study area said they had prepared an emergency kit prior to the
floods. The lowest level of reported emergency kit preparation was Numurkah, with 30.2 percent, and
the highest being Nathalia (43 percent).
Emergency plan
The FloodSafe program also educates people in flood-affected communities to prepare a written
emergency plan for their households, business or farm. The preparation of the emergency plan is
another indicator of community preparedness.
The community survey asked respondents if they had prepared a written emergency plan for their
household. Only 9.1 percent of respondents across the study area said they had prepared a written
emergency plan for their household. The highest level was for Nathalia (15 percent), with Numurkah
having the lowest level (4 percent).
The results for those having a written emergency plan for their farm or business were considerably
lower than for households. Across the study area, of the 48 percent of respondents who lived on a
farm or owned or ran a business, only 2.7 percent said they had a written emergency plan for their
farm or business prior to the floods. Again, Nathalia had the highest level with 6.5 percent, and
Numurkah had the lowest level with 0.7 percent.
Of the households and businesses that said they had a written emergency plan, 39.7 percent reported
that they had used the plan in the March 2012 flood event. Nathalia (45.5 percent) and Numurkah
(42.9 percent) had the highest reported levels of emergency plan use during the flood.
27
3.1.3 Involvement in mitigation planning
Community survey respondents were asked if they or any member of their household had been
involved in or contributed to flood planning in their community. Flood planning for the communities in
the study area is detailed and discussed in Section 4.
About one-third of respondents said they or another member of their household had been involved or
contributed to flood planning in their community. Residents of Nathalia had the highest levels of flood
planning involvement with 43 percent, whilst Numurkah (23.5 percent), and the Mid-area communities
(23.1 percent) had the lowest levels of involvement.
3.1.4 Understanding of roles
The draft Framework includes an expectation that the community, individuals, businesses, volunteers,
emergency service providers (ESPs) and other government agencies understand their roles in the
event of an emergency so they can respond in an effective, coordinated and timely way.
With this expectation in mind, respondents to the community survey were asked which of the following
organisations they thought was responsible for helping them deal with this emergency. The results
from across the study area were:
VICSES (75 percent)
CFA (39.4 percent)
Local Government (39.4 percent)
Police (34.1 percent)
Army (8.7 percent).
The above confirms that the majority of people knew (correctly) that VICSES was the lead control
agency for flood events. However, about one-quarter of those surveyed did not acknowledge VICSES
as an ESP, possibly due to its lack of volunteer capacity in the smaller townships. This is confirmed in
Numurkah – where there is a VICSES Unit of about 20 volunteers – having a higher level of VICSES
confirmation (81.9 percent) compared to Nathalia (69.2 percent) where there is no VICSES Unit in the
town.
Respondents were also asked to identify those organisations they thought were the most important in
providing them help in this emergency. The VICSES was ranked more than twice as important as the
CFA and Local Government, and almost three times more important than police. In Numurkah, the
VICSES was viewed as about 2.5 times more important than the next organisation, Local
Government. In Nathalia, it was slightly more than 1.5 times greater than the next-placed Local
Government.
Regional and local stakeholder interviewees were asked if prior to the flood the community and ESPs
understood their roles in the event of a flood emergency. Thirty-three percent of interviewees thought
there was an understanding in communities and emergency services and other agencies, whilst 67
percent thought there was not an understanding of the roles.
There was a feeling from interviewees that the Nathalia and Tallygaroopna communities generally had
a good understanding of their roles. One interviewee commented that a FloodSafe education program
was being developed for Nathalia and should be rolled out throughout communities across the study
area. According to another interviewee, there had been a community meeting at Tallygaroopna as
flood waters were rising which helped clarify roles and led to actions; for example organising pumps
and checking issues with irrigation channels. Also, there were local residents at Tallygaroopna who
apparently had a good understanding of potential flood behaviour based on previous flood experience.
28
On the other hand, those interviewees who thought the communities did not understand their roles
mainly cited the extended recent drought as a cause of complacency and contributing to a lack of
understanding, particularly in terms of evacuation.
The few interviewees who thought ESPs understood their roles cited the Municipal Emergency
Management Plan (MEMP) as the key document in clarifying roles. Some interviewees also thought
there was confusion; particularly in Numurkah, as to the respective roles of the Divisional Command
and the VICSES Unit for flood response.
3.1.5 Self-efficacy
Self-efficacy is people’s assessment of their resources; for example confidence, to enable an action
(Paton, McClure and Burgelt, 2006). It is also an important factor in flood preparedness and
appropriate flood response (Paton, McClure and Burgelt, 2006; Grothmann and Reusswig, 2006)
Community survey respondents were asked how confident they were in doing the following if their
neighbourhood was threatened by a flood:
“Keep yourself safe”
“Keep your family members safe”
“Protect you house and property”
“Help your neighbours”
The results for respondents that agreed they were confident to carry out these actions are provided in
Table 2.
Table 2: Self-efficacy of respondents
ActionNumurkahNathaliaMidareaRemaining
areasStudyarea
Keep safe 91.3%90.7%93.3%94.9%92.6%
Keep family safe 79.2%82.2%91.8%94.9%87.1%
Protect house &
property 70.5%72.9%79.1%79.0%75.4%
Help neighbours 78.5%76.6%76.1%84.1%79.0%
As shown in Table 2, there is a high level of self-efficacy in relation to people keeping themselves and
their families safe. This declines to about three-quarters of people for protecting house and property
(possibly influenced by experiences in the March 2012 floods) and close to four-fifths for confidence in
helping neighbours. As is also shown in Table 2, there is a high level of consistency in responses
across the communities in the study area.
3.1.6 Vulnerable people
As shown in Section 3.1.5, over 90 percent of respondents believed they could keep themselves safe
in a flood. However, there were about seven percent that felt they were not confident or “didn’t know”.
These people would include vulnerable people; for example elderly, sick or disabled, in the
community.
29
There is no current requirement for flood-prone areas to hold a vulnerable persons register; only one
of the three local council interviewees confirmed that their council had a Vulnerable Persons Register.
The two councils that did not have a Vulnerable Persons Register hoped to develop one. One council
cited “understaffing” as a reason for not developing the register.
3.2 EFFECTIVENESS OF PUBLIC INFORMATION AND WARNINGS
One of the expectations in the draft Framework states that members of the community receive timely,
relevant and tailored information in an appropriate format about the proposed response and actions
they should take.
3.2.1 Threat information sources
Community survey respondents were asked the open-ended question how they first found out about
the flood threat to them/their community. The top eight flood information sources were:
1. Saw water rising/heavy rain (18 percent of respondents)
2. Radio (17.8 percent)
3. Television (13.3 percent)
4. Locals advised/neighbours warned (11.2 percent)
5. When we were flooded/in the absence of any warning (8.4 percent)
6. Experience/local knowledge (6.9 percent)
7. Emergency services (5.5 percent)
8. Upstream communities flooded (4.4 percent)
Thus, apart from observation, radio and television were the main sources of information about flood
threat.
Although there has been extensive recent literature on the use of social media in providing flood
information (Queensland Police Service, 2011; White, 2012), only 1.1 percent identified social media
as their first source of information in this flood event. Also, only two percent first accessed the internet.
Also from the survey results:
Emergency Alert messages – either delivered by landline or mobile phone – provided first
information to about four percent of survey respondents.
Local community meetings run by the ESPs were identified by about three percent of the
respondents.
8.4 percent of respondents indicated that they received no prior information before being flooded.
3.2.2 Timeliness of information
Community survey respondents were asked if after they first found out about the flood threat whether
they had enough time to act to prevent harm to: themselves; their family; their property. The results
are summarised in Table 3.
30
Table 3: Respondents’ assessment of timeliness of threat information
ActionNumurkahNathaliaMidareaRemaining
areasStudyarea
Enough time to
protect self 81.2%90.7%79.1%87.0%84.1%
Enough time to
protect family 67.8%82.2%78.4%85.5%78.0%
Enough time to
protect property 72.3%88.8%69.2%72.5%75.0%
As shown in Table 3, at least three-quarters believed that the initial flood information was timely to
allow them to take actions to protect themselves, their family and their property. It should be noted that
the results from Numurkah was lower than the average for the study for self, family and property. On
the other hand, Nathalia had above average results for each.
3.2.3 Satisfaction with flood threat information
Community survey respondents were asked how satisfied they were with the way they first found out
about the flood threat to their community.
About two-thirds of respondents were satisfied or very satisfied with the way in which they first found
out about the flood threat. On the other hand, about one-quarter were either dissatisfied or very
dissatisfied with the way they found out. The community with the most dissatisfied respondents was
Numurkah (38.3 percent).
The primary reasons that respondents were satisfied with the initial flood information were:
Had time to prepare/early warning (24.5 percent)
Information good/knew what was happening (12.8 percent)
Rely on local knowledge/experience (8 percent).
The main reasons for respondents’ dissatisfaction were:
Emergency services did not warn/support (7.2 percent)
No warning given (7.2 percent)
Warning too late/ no time to act (6.1 percent)
People living in Numurkah (12.4 percent) more than others were dissatisfied with the way they first
found out about the flood threat, because the emergency services did not warn or support them.
3.2.4 Access to information during the flood
Community survey respondents were asked if they were able to obtain information they needed about
the flood.
Eighty-five percent of respondents from across the study area confirmed that they were able to obtain
the information they needed about the floods.
31
People living in Numurkah (25.7 percent) more than others were not able to obtain the information
they needed. Of concern is that households from across the study area with a member with a disability
(22.6 percent) also said they were unable to obtain the information they needed.
3.2.5 Information sources during the flood
Community survey respondents were asked to identify the sources that they received flood information
from during the flood.
Across the study area, the primary sources of information used during the flood were:
Neighbours (40.5 percent)
Emergency services for example VICSES, CFA, Police (33 percent)
Television (26.7 percent)
ABC Local Radio (21.8 percent)
Only 17.6 percent reported that they used the Internet to obtain information during the flood.
People also received information from other sources, predominantly community meetings.
3.2.6 Ways to improve community information
Respondents were asked to identify ways to improve access to flood information. About 40 percent
believed that either access to information could not be improved, or that it had been shown to be
adequate to their needs.
The main improvement suggested was better access to local knowledge, including the experience and
insights of locals.
Respondents were also asked about ways to provide more timely and useful information to them. The
most popular response was “nothing more needed” (14.3 percent). Other responses were:
Use local radio/TV/local focus (12.2 percent)
Emergency Alert/SMS messages (11.8 percent)
Local information up-to-date/correct/clear (10.7 percent).
3.2.7 Community actions to lessen flood impact
Community survey respondents were asked about the actions they took once they became aware of
the likely impact of the floods.
The responses were almost evenly split, with 45.7 percent of all respondents saying they needed to
take actions, compared with 54.3 percent saying they did not take actions or took limited actions.
Those living in Numurkah (61.5 percent) had a higher level of taking no or limited action than the other
communities in the study area.
The three main actions of all respondents who took an action to lessen the flood’s impact were:
1. Checked on family and friends (88 percent)
2. Listened to the radio and/or television to get information (53.9 percent)
3. Checked on vulnerable people (53.9 percent)
Respondents also moved their car (47.3 percent), their animals, including stock and pets (46.1
percent), or lifted furniture (45.2 percent)
32
In addition, 62.2 percent of respondents who took action said they sandbagged their property. Those
living in Numurkah (87.7 percent) more than other communities sandbagged their properties.
From the above it is clear that due to the extent of inundation in the town, Numurkah residents either
took no action or, if they did take action, mainly sandbagged their property.
3.2.8 Evacuation warnings
Evacuation warnings were issued to a few communities in the study area (see Table 1), such as
Walwa (Remaining-area), Tallygaroopna (Mid-area), Congupna (Mid-area) and Nathalia. No
evacuation warning was issued to Numurkah residents.
More than one-third (34.3 percent) of respondents from across the study area said that they received
an evacuation warning during the flood. It was Nathalia respondents (84.1 percent) that primarily
reported receiving an evacuation warning. About one-third of respondents from the Mid-area and
Remaining areas said they received evacuation warnings, whilst understandably virtually no
respondents from Numurkah said they received an evacuation warning.
The main source of receiving an evacuation warning was Emergency Alert (44.2 percent). Other
sources included direct evacuation warnings from the VICSES (20.2 percent) and from police or other
ESPs (17.8 percent).
Those respondents living in Nathalia (59 percent) and localities in the Mid-area (58.3 percent) tended
to receive an evacuation warning through Emergency Alert. On the other hand, people living in the
remaining area (44 percent) tended to receive a warning through the VICSES.
About 14 percent of respondents across the study area believed that they should have received an
evacuation warning but did not. The main group concerned about not receiving an evacuation warning
was the respondents from Numurkah.
About 20 percent of respondents from across the study area said that they evacuated during the flood
(whether due to an evacuation warning or not). By far the main community to evacuate was Nathalia
(38.3 percent of responses), which did receive an evacuation warning. On the other hand, there were
still 13.5 percent of Numurkah residents that reported evacuating, even though an evacuation warning
was not issued in the town.
Respondents tended to evacuate as soon as they received their first evacuation warning. This was
particularly evident in Nathalia where 63.4 percent of respondents that evacuated, did so as soon as
they received the first evacuation warning. On the other hand, respondents from Numurkah tended to
evacuate as floodwater entered their property or house.
The main reason (59.3 percent of responses) for evacuating was that respondents were concerned
about the safety of their family. Some that evacuated also did so because they were advised to
evacuate by the emergency services (20.4 percent).
Of those who evacuated across the study area, 69.4 percent of respondents went to stay with friends
or family. Only five percent said they went to an evacuation or relief centre in the area.
The main reasons for not evacuating cited by respondents were:
Their property was not threatened (42.3 percent)
There was no threat to themselves and/or their family (32.9 percent).
A few of the stakeholder interviewees were critical of the triggers used by the Shepparton ICC to
disseminate evacuation warnings; particularly at Nathalia. They thought that the town was asked to
evacuate too early, and a belief the town would not be inundated. They also identified issues with
evacuation routes leading from Nathalia to the evacuation centre at Cobram. This route had areas that
had been inundated by floodwaters, putting evacuees further at risk.
33
3.3 EFFECTIVENESS OF INCIDENT MANAGEMENT
ARRANGEMENTS
3.3.1 Assistance required by communities
Community survey respondents were asked if they required assistance from any organisation during
the flood.
From across the study area, 22.2 percent of respondents confirmed that they needed help from an
organisation during the flood. Respondents from the Mid-area (31.3 percent) were most likely to
require assistance, with Nathalia (14 percent) requiring the least level of assistance. The main type of
assistance required was sandbagging (22.5 percent of responses).
About three-quarters of respondents said they were satisfied or very satisfied with the assistance they
received. The main reasons given were: helpful; prompt/timely help; and, job done well/hardworking.
Across the study area 18.6 percent of respondents were dissatisfied or very dissatisfied about the
assistance they received. There was a higher level of dissatisfaction in Nathalia (33.3 percent) and
Numurkah (25 percent) in comparison with other communities. The main reason for dissatisfaction
was that respondents did not receive assistance with their property or, in some cases, felt that it was
inadequate.
3.3.2 Community confidence in the planned response by emergency services
Community survey respondents were asked about how confident they were that the planned response
by the emergency services to the flood would protect themselves and their community.
More than half (57.9 percent) of all respondents were fairly confident or very confident that the
planned response by the emergency services would protect them. About the same level (56.2 percent)
were fairly confident or very confident that the emergency services’ response would protect their
community. Levels of confidence were greatest in Nathalia (74.8 percent for themselves; 70.1 percent
for their community).
The main reasons why respondents were confident that the planned response would protect them and
their community were that the emergency services:
Were well-organised, efficient and knew what they were doing (10.8 percent of responses)
Provided assistance, doing the best they possibly could under difficult circumstances (9.9
percent)
Were extremely hard working and continuously on the job (9.8 percent).
Across the study area, 26.8 percent were not confident at all that the planned response by the
emergency services would protect them. A similar result (27.9 percent) was obtained for not being
confident at all in relation to protecting the community. Levels of lack of confidence in the planned
response were greatest in Numurkah (36.5 percent for themselves; 40.5 percent for their community)
and the Mid-area (33.5 percent for themselves; 34.3 percent for their community).
The main reasons for lack of confidence in the planned response were:
Gave no or inadequate assistance in preparing for or dealing with the flood (10.3 percent) and no
or inadequate warning or advice (5.1 percent)
Lacked knowledge of the area and made mistakes and bad decisions (8.1 percent)
Ignored knowledge and advice that was provided by locals with previous flood experience in the
area (7.3 percent)
34
Were badly organised and managed (6.3 percent)
Did not see small villages, isolated communities or farms as important, and did not give them any
priority (3.4 percent).
3.3.3 Community ideas for improvement
Community survey respondents were asked: “if you were flooded again, what things should be done
differently to better assist you?”
There was a broad range of responses to this question, with listening and using local
knowledge/experience in preparing for and dealing with the flood emergency (13.6 percent of
responses) the most popular suggested improvement. This improvement was identified most in
Nathalia (20.9 percent) and Numurkah (17.5 percent).
Other suggested improvements included:
Address infrastructure issues, including building drains, levees and pumping systems (12.5
percent), and maintain and clean creeks and drains (3 percent)
Provide earlier warnings, including more timely Emergency Alerts (10 percent)
Improve local information on the flood, so that they know what is going on in their area, including
up to date information on flood levels and projections and rain forecasts (6.4 percent)
Provide more resources for preparing for and dealing with the flood, including more personnel,
sand and sandbags and pumps (5.9 percent)
Prepare and respond earlier, including establishing plans, organisation and defences (5.8
percent)
Improve communication with the community, including regular local meetings, announcements on
local media, and use of local websites (5.1 percent)
Better organisation, management and coordination of the emergency services, so that they can
provide effective leadership and support during the emergency (5.1 percent).
It should be noted that a significant proportion of respondents (15.9 percent) believed nothing should
be done differently if the area was flooded again.
3.3.4 Seamless and integrated approach
As per the Framework, there is an expectation that ESPs collaborate with each other to deliver a
quality, seamless, integrated, “one sector” approach to emergency management for the community.
State and regional-level stakeholder interviewees were asked if they believed a seamless and
integrated approach was provided to the community by ESPs during the flood. Only 37.5 percent felt
there was a seamless and integrated approach delivered for this incident. Some of the interviewees,
who answered “no”, qualified their response by saying that in some areas, such as Walwa, there was
a seamless and integrated approach, whilst particularly in Numurkah there was not.
The main reasons for those thinking the approach was seamless and integrated was that they
observed good procedures in place and strong interagency support and cooperation.
It was also reported that there were effective interrelationships between the State Control Team and
the State Emergency Management Team throughout the incident. The interrelationships between
Regional Control and the Regional Emergency Management Team were also reported by several
interviewees as being effective throughout the flood.
35
Those interviewees who felt there was not a seamless and integrated approach cited a range of
reasons including:
The lack of capacity of VICSES and, therefore, its heavy reliance on DSE and the CFA in flood
events. This impacted on the ease of scaling up for the flood.
“Cultural differences” between the agencies, with still some competition (although a few
interviewees believed this issue was improving since the 2010-11 floods).
Early information suggested that the main flood threat was further to the east; for example
Wangaratta, with main resources deployed there, which then had to be quickly deployed to the
west.
Lack of flood intelligence data; particularly for Numurkah.
ICC and Divisional Command links to the field were “not dynamic” – some field crews had to
send photographs of the flood via their personal smart phones, as the CFA and VICSES
information systems were not compatible.
Lack of training of some VICSES personnel in AIIMS.
The main five issues identified by stakeholder interviewees for improvement to deliver a seamless and
integrated approach to the incident were:
1. Greater resourcing for VICSES (personnel and funds)
2. Further rolling out and training for VICSES personnel in AIIMS
3. A greater coverage of flood studies, floodplain management plans and municipal flood plans
across the region to provide a better basis for flood intelligence.
4. Increased community flood education and engagement; for example FloodSafe program, to
help communities in the region understand their flood risk, become better prepared and know
how to respond appropriately to a flood.
5. Improving the compatibility of systems across the agencies and conducting cross-agency pre-
event exercising using these compatible systems.
3.3.5 Interoperability of personnel
As per the Framework, there is an expectation that ESPs’ workforces share a core set of skills and
competencies so that, during a major or extended incident, personnel can operate between ESPs
without adverse impacts on the level or the quality of services provided to the community.
Workforce survey respondents were asked if the emergency services worked well together in this
operation. Incident management personnel were the only category asked this question, and 55.4
percent agreed that the agencies worked well. Only 3.6 percent said they did not, with 41.1 percent
saying they worked partly well together.
All categories of workforce survey respondents – incident management, specialist support, field
operations – were asked to rate the multi-agency response in the flood operation using a Likert scale
ranging from “poor” to “excellent”. The results are shown in Figure 5.
As shown in Figure 5, well over half of the incident management personnel rated the multi-agency
response as “above average” or “excellent”, although 8.8 percent of incident management personnel
rated it as “below average”. On the other hand, less than half (46 percent) of the field operations
personnel rated the multi-agency response as “above average” or “excellent”, with 6.3 percent rating it
as “poor”.
36
Figure 5: Rating of multi-agency response from the workforce survey
Stakeholder interviewees were also questioned in relation to any interoperability issues they identified
during the flood event. Of those interviewed, 72.3 percent said they experienced or knew of
interoperability issues during the flood.
Four interviewees felt there was a lack of coordination in Numurkah between the local CFA, which
housed the Divisional Command and the local VICSES Unit. They believed this hampered the planned
response in that town.
At a regional level, one interviewee identified the inability to utilise DSE personnel due to their
involvement in planned burn operations elsewhere in the State.
A few interviewees believed that the approach required for fire and flood is different at the ICC, and
this needs to be further clarified and included in future training in all agencies.
3.3.6 Interoperability of information and communication systems
Several interviewees reported issues with incompatible systems (radio frequencies, information
systems) used by the VICSES and the CFA. This was supported by comments in agency de-brief
meetings.
3.3.7 Incident management coordination and communication
Stakeholder interviewees were asked if they believed that there were plans/processes/protocols in
place to ensure the incident was well-managed, coordinated and communicated. Only one interviewee
believed that plans/processes/protocols were not in place. This interviewee believed that there should
be more templates available for the Divisional Commander to help guide his/her role.
Only 40 percent believed that the plans/processes/protocols achieved the desired outcome in the
flood. Of those who thought this, most thought that coordination and communication was better in the
37
east for example at Walwa. Some thought that the use of plans/processes/protocols was effective at
the regional and state level.
Of the 60 percent of interviewees who did not believe the incident was well managed, coordinated and
communicated, the main reasons for this view according to the interviewees were:
Lack of flood intelligence particularly for Numurkah.
According to the Divisional Command and VICSES interviewees at Numurkah, advice was
received from the Shepparton ICC that the hospital was not under threat of flooding, therefore the
hospital evacuation plans were not activated.
There were some cases of personnel at Divisional Command level not being replaced and
working excessive hours.
The above issues are supported by agency de-brief notes.
3.3.8 Local level input used in incident management
Stakeholder interviewees were asked if there were plans/processes/protocols in place to ensure the
appropriate local level of input was taken into account. All but two interviewees felt that there were
appropriate plans/processes/protocols in place to access local level of input. One interviewee could
not identify a procedure for providing Divisional Command input to the Shepparton ICC (a state level
interviewee confirmed that there was no protocol for taking in local knowledge).
However, only 37 percent of interviewees believed that the plans/processes/protocols achieved the
desired outcome of using an appropriate local level of input. The main reasons for believing that the
desired outcome was reached, included practice with recent minor floods, local people listened to by
the Nathalia Divisional Command, and the effective use of community meetings to obtain local
residents’ knowledge and experience.
Of those who did not feel there was an appropriate local level of input, the main reasons offered were:
Nathalia and Numurkah Divisional Commands reported the communication linkages with the
Shepparton ICC as “poor”. Interviewees from the Divisional Commands and the Numurkah
VICSES Unit felt their local knowledge input was not being listened to by the Shepparton ICC.
Some interviewees from the ICC felt that the local knowledge particularly originating from local
residents was difficult to filter and validate.
No Flood Warden or local flood observers program in place, therefore it is difficult to know who in
the local community to go to for reliable local input.
The above issues are supported by agency de-brief notes.
3.3.9 Understanding of ESPs’ roles and responsibilities
Stakeholder interviewees were asked if plans/processes/protocols were in place to ensure that there
was a clear understanding of roles and responsibilities during the incident between State, Region, the
ICC and Divisional Command.
Almost all interviewees thought that the plans/processes/protocols were in place. However, some
questioned whether there were protocols regarding the role of the Divisional Command in relation to
the other tiers. Two interviewees also questioned the role of the region in the incident and felt there
was “too much noise from above” that could distract the Incident Controller who should be talking
directly with the State Control and Divisional Command.
Only 27 per cent of interviewees thought that the plans/processes/protocols achieved the desired
outcome in terms of clear understanding of roles and responsibilities. The main concerns were:
38
The roles of the Divisional Command and the VICSES Unit at Numurkah were not clearly defined
in relation to the Shepparton ICC. The Divisional Command could have used the VICSES Unit as
a sector under its command but did not do so. However, according to one Divisional Command
interviewee, they did not know their role due to lack of training. The poor clarity caused confusion
about, and in some cases duplication of, operational activities, such as sandbagging.
The role of the CMA was not clear to all interviewees, however CMA were co-opted into the
intelligence cell of the Shepparton ICC. CMA is undertaking AIIMS training at the invitation of
VICSES.
There is a need for more AIIMS training at the local level.
The above issues are supported by agency de-brief notes.
3.3.10 Timely and quality decisions made by ESPs
Stakeholder interviewees were asked if plans/processes/protocols were in place to ensure there were
timely and quality decisions made at all levels.
Several interviewees did not believe that there were adequate plans/processes/protocols at the local
level, although the state and regional plans/processes/protocols were in place; for example, State
Flood Plan and Regional Flood Plan. Of major concern was the lack of consistency in the standard of
municipal flood plans across some parts of the study area. This hampered the ability of ESPs to
understand flood behaviour and make timely and quality decisions.
The majority of interviewees (56 percent) believed that timely and quality decisions were made during
the flood event by ESPs. However, this view was mainly from state, regional and local council
interviewees. Local level interviewees tended to feel that the Shepparton ICC was too slow in
decision-making; particularly in relation to the fast rising flood waters at Numurkah.
The above issues are supported by agency de-brief notes.
3.3.11 Timely and adequate intelligence
Stakeholder interviewees were asked if plans/processes/protocols were in place to ensure that timely
and relevant intelligence was received to inform both decision-making and community information and
warning messages.
Some interviewees commented on the inconsistent standard of municipal flood plans for those
communities that have them. The VICSES is moving to improve this issue through the use of a
standard template for these plans.
Only 36 percent of interviewees thought that the plans/processes/protocols achieved the desired
outcome to provide timely and relevant intelligence. Apart from the issues discussed above in this
section, others issues raised were:
Flood warnings issued by the BoM were generally viewed by interviewees as sound, although
initially advice was that there appeared to be greater flood threat to the east of the study area; for
example Benalla and Wangaratta.
It was apparently difficult for the Shepparton ICC initially to extract BoM warnings for the Broken
Creek catchment, as they were included under the Broken River warnings. This was due to the
lack of an established flood warning system for Broken Creek.
It was apparently difficult for the intelligence unit in the Shepparton ICC to filter local observations
due to no protocol in place to assure quality intelligence.
The VICSES does not have geographic information system (GIS) capability across the State, and
thus other GIS capabilities; for example CMA, had to be accessed by the Intelligence Unit at the
Shepparton ICC.
39
Lack of a flood intelligence system across the State.
There have been changes across the landscape; (for example laser-levelling, on-farm dams, new
irrigation channels, contour banks), which in a flat topography can have a major influence on
localised flood behaviour that can further challenge the provision of flood intelligence.
The above issues are supported by agency de-brief notes.
3.3.12 Were plans enacted?
Stakeholder interviewees were asked if the Municipal Emergency Management Plan (MEMP) or other
relevant local plan was activated during the incident.
From their responses, it is clear that the MEMPs were activated in the three LGAs.
3.3.13 Improvements in incident management
Stakeholder interviewees were asked to identify ways in which incident management could be
improved based on learnings from the flood. The top eight improvements identified were:
1. Conduct flood studies and develop floodplain management plans for townships that do not
have them.
2. Improve municipal flood emergency plans for the townships across the study area so that they
include a detailed understanding of flood risk and behaviour.
3. Consider further use of the Portable Automated Logger System (PALS), which is able to be
rapidly deployed to assist the intelligence cell in the ICC by providing real-time water level
information at locations outside the permanent monitoring network. However, it was conceded
that there is no substitute for a properly designed, maintained and operational data telemetry
network.
4. Clarify chain of command and improve communications from ICC to Divisional Command to
VICSES Unit (under Division Command)
5. Conduct inter-agency exercising around flood and fire scenarios
6. Ensure that all ESPs have access to the same information system and radio frequency
7. Build VICSES capability in the new structure of AIIMS through training and pre-event drilling.
8. Increase and improve community flood education across the study area so that residents and
businesses are aware of the flood risk, increase their flood preparedness and know what to do
in response to a flood.
3.3.14 Requests for support
The Emergency Services Telecommunications Authority (ESTA) is responsible for handling Triple
Zero calls in Victoria, and providing and managing emergency operational communications for the
dispatch of police, fire, ambulance and VICSES.
Data from ESTA shows that on average 90 percent of 132 500 flood emergency calls during the floods
were answered within 20 seconds (an ESTA benchmark). It was only on 1 March 2012 that the system
appeared stretched, with only 46.7 percent of calls achieving the benchmark due to a spike in calls
(14.7 percent of the total calls from across the State).
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3.3.15 Support for vulnerable people
According to local and regional stakeholder interviewees, because there was not a vulnerable persons
register available in two of the three LGAs (see Section 3.1.6), vulnerable people were sometimes
difficult to locate and, sometimes, only located by emergency calls. Nevertheless, with these being
small townships, it appears local knowledge helped greatly with locating vulnerable people.
3.3.16 Access to support and essential services
Stakeholder interviewees at the regional and local level were asked if people in the community were
well-informed about support and essential services and whether they were provided in a timely way.
All these interviewees believed that people in the community were well-informed about support and
essential services and that this was provided in a timely way. The main mechanism for providing
information in a timely way was seen to be via community meetings, which were generally well-
attended across the study area. Other mechanisms for disseminating information were by radio
announcements, electronic bulletins, newsletters and by doorknocking.
Two issues identified were:
Difficult to service medical needs of people, as supplies; for example common medicines, started
to run low.
People who were cut off by floodwaters could not attend community meetings and thus had to
use other means; for example radio to obtain information.
3.3.17 Assessment of impacts
Local and regional stakeholder interviewees were asked if the social, economic and environmental
impacts of the flood were rapidly assessed and reflected in a well-planned and communicated
recovery plan.
All but two of the interviewees agreed that a Rapid Impact Assessment had been made.
The interviewees who thought there were issues said that the assessment found it difficult to locate
houses that experienced above floor flooding, particularly in isolated locations; for example
farmhouses. These interviewees thought the assessment was slower than anticipated across the
flood-impacted area.
3.4 SUMMARY OF FINDINGS
The findings provided in Section 3 are summarised in Appendix A in relation to the Lines of Enquiry.
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4 DISCUSSION
The main trend throughout the findings in Section 3 is the considerable difference in the community
survey responses of Nathalia respondents compared with Numurkah respondents. These differences
are highlighted in Table 4. These related to selected performance indicators from the Framework.
Table 4: Selected significant differences in community survey responses from Nathalia and Numurkah
PerformanceindicatorNathaliaNumurkah
Awareness of flood risk 91% 74%
Have an emergency kit 43% 30%
Have a written emergency plan 15% 4%
Involvement in flood planning 43% 24%
Time to protect self after receiving warning 91% 81%
Time to protect family after receiving warning 82% 68%
Time to protect property after receiving warning 89% 72%
Not confident that planned response by emergency
services would protect them/their community 15% 37%
From Table 4 it is clear that Nathalia residents were more aware, better prepared and more involved in
flood planning than Numurkah. It also appears that flood warnings were more timely for Nathalia
residents. Numurkah residents had far less confidence that the planned response by emergency
services would protect them/their community.
The results in Table 4 prompted further investigation of the reasons for the differences in responses
between the two communities.
Another prompt for further investigation was the community backlash; for example as evidenced in
media releases, public submissions to this review, to the evacuation of Numurkah hospital after
floodwaters entered the building.
Of course, the responses in relation to some of the performance indicators should be seen as no more
than a reflection of the reality that one town was more affected by flooding than the other.
Section 4.1 attempts to provide reasons for the differences in responses and for the Numurkah
hospital situation.
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4.1 KEY ISSUES
4.1.1 Flood planning and mitigation
There are some references in Section 3 to possible issues relating to flood planning and mitigation for
Nathalia and Numurkah that require further investigation. The main plans and mitigation options to
investigate are:
1. Presence of a levee
2. Flood study and Floodplain management plan
3. Municipal flood emergency plans
1.Presence of a levee
Northfield et al. (2005) found that the damage to Nathalia in a 100 year ARI flood such as 2012 would
have been considerable (515 houses affected, 94 commercial and industrial buildings affected)
without flood mitigation options. Although Nathalia is a smaller town, a greater proportion of the town
is threatened by flooding than Numurkah.
According to SMEC (2005), “during the 1974 flood it was reported that parts of the township of
Nathalia were flooded. Following that event a flood study was undertaken to determine the nature of
flooding in Nathalia and to identify appropriate flood mitigation options. As a result of the
recommendations of that study a levee and floodway system was constructed. During the 1993 flood
these works protected the township of Nathalia from extensive flooding”.
Prior to the 2012 flood, and as part of the Nathalia Floodplain Management Plan (SMEC, 2005), the
Nathalia town levees were raised along approximately eight kilometres in length. Demountable
(portable) flood barriers were purchased and installed ahead of the 2012 flood (Goulburn Broken
Catchment Management Authority, 2012).
According to evidence given by the Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority to the
Victorian Government’s Inquiry into Flood Mitigation Infrastructure in Victoria (Environment and
Natural Resources Committee, 2012), “the only formal levee scheme on the Broken system is
Nathalia. That is the only formal levee system we have in place. We have always maintained the
philosophy that a town levee for the community is best managed by the local government agency. In
this case it is Moira Shire Council. They can look at routine maintenance of a formal levee scheme.
Anywhere else there is not any at all. There are probably less than 15 formal levee schemes across
Victoria”.
Thus Numurkah has no formal levee scheme. Instead it has “a couple of levees pushed up in
Numurkah down by the caravan park and around. They were pushed up sort of informally, but there is
no design, design elevation or freeboard. It is all what are called informal levees put in
opportunistically during the flood, but they have not been designed to any standard”. (Environment
and Natural Resources Committee, 2012).
2.Flood study and Floodplain management plan
The development of flood studies and floodplain management plans is a key program of the Goulburn
Broken Regional Floodplain Management Strategy (Goulburn Broken Catchment Management
Authority, 2002). “A flood study characterises the flooding behaviour of the catchment and the results
from the hydraulic model produced. The results of the hydraulic model provide information on the flood
hazard and a means of assessing the impact of options emerging from the floodplain management
studies on flooding behaviour and flood hazard” (SMEC, 2005).
The flood study forms the basis for a floodplain management study leading to development of a
floodplain management plan which, through stakeholder and community consultation, identifies
43
management options to manage flood risk. The three categories of options considered in a floodplain
management plan are:
structural measures (flood modification)
land use planning measures (property modification)
flood emergency measures (response modification).
The Nathalia Floodplain Management Plan was developed in 2005. “The preparation of a Floodplain
Management Plan for Nathalia was an outcome of the Broken Creek strategy report, which recognised
Nathalia as a Number 1 priority. Furthermore, Nathalia was recognised as a high priority under the
Draft Regional Floodplain Management Strategy for the Goulburn Broken Catchment Management
Authority District” (SMEC, 2005). The management options in the Plan include:
levee-raising (mentioned above)
new flood maps
land use zoning
flood warning system
community Awareness and Preparedness
emergency plans (including the incorporation of flood inundation maps from the flood study).
Most of the management options in the Nathalia plan were implemented prior to the 2012 flood
(Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority, 2012).
In comparison, Numurkah had a flood study (Tate et al., 2011), but no floodplain management study
or floodplain management plan at the time of the 2012 flood. According to evidence provided by the
Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority to the Victorian Government’s Inquiry into Flood
Mitigation Infrastructure in Victoria (Environment and Natural Resources Committee, 2012), “We have
not looked at or explored mitigation options for Numurkah at this stage. We have only been doing the
fact-finding missions of a flood study at this stage. We are not looking into options, but we should”.
Although hydrologic studies had been completed for Numurkah and Nathalia, these studies require
calibration to historic events. Upon calibration of the hydrologic models for Numurkah and Nathalia,
Northfield et al. (2005) and Tate et al. (2011) did not propose that flood peaks could arrive
substantially earlier than historically had been the case. They found that there is considerable
uncertainty and complexity in the hydrology given the break out of flows from the Broken River and the
lack of stream flow and rainfall data.
3.Municipal emergency management plans
All Victorian local councils are required to have a Municipal Emergency Management Plan (MEMP).
For those councils with flood risk, a Municipal Flood Emergency Plan (MFEP) is recommended. The
MFEP “contains intelligence on what is at risk from flooding, both riverine and stormwater, within the
Municipality. This intelligence should be derived from past experience, flood and drainage study
outputs and other sources of flood related information. The MFEP should contain information on what
needs to be done to reduce flood impacts and detail flood prevention, preparedness, response and
recovery planning arrangements” (VICSES, 2011a).
As a sub-plan of its MEMP, in 2002 Moira Shire developed the Moira Shire Flood Sub-Plan with the
most updated version being May 2010. However, because the Sub-Plan predated the Numurkah flood
study, the May 2010 version states, “In large flows, flooding of land in and around Numurkah from the
Broken Creek causes considerable inconvenience and some property damage. However, the
relatively large waterway through Numurkah and the timely operation of the slide doors in the weirs in
the town limit the damage to a relatively minor level”. Furthermore, it states, “Although the Town is not
seriously threatened by major floods, there are important actions which must be carried out to prevent
either the Creek backing up through the town drainage system or other drainage problems”. The Sub-
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Plan thus in no way recognised the risks and impacts of a large (above 100 year ARI) flood for
Numurkah, nor did it detail appropriate PPRR for this level of flood.
4.1.2 Total flood warning system
There are some references in Section 3 to possible issues relating to flood warning systems for
Nathalia and Numurkah that require further investigation.
Analysis of the total flood warning system should be conducted through the Manual 21 Flood Warning
(Attorney-General’s Department, 2009). Manual 21 lists six components of the total flood warning
system:
1. Monitoring and prediction: detecting environmental conditions that lead to flooding, and
predicting river levels during the flood
2. Interpretation: identifying in advance the impacts of the predicted flood levels on communities
at risk (includes flood intelligence)
3. Message construction: devising the content of the message which will warn people of
impending flooding
4. Communication: disseminating warning information in a timely fashion to people and
organisations likely to be affected by the flood
5. Protective behaviour: generating appropriate and timely actions and behaviours from the
agencies involved and from the threatened community
6. Review: examining the various aspects of the system with a view to improving its performance
The Victorian Warning Protocol (Office of the Emergency Services Commissioner, 2009) covers
several of these components; for example situational awareness and analysis, message construction
and dissemination.
From the issues raised in Section 3 and the analysis in Section 4.1.1, the top components require
further investigation.
The BoM has responsibility for the monitoring of situations likely to lead to flooding and for the
prediction of floods throughout the period of flooding in rural Victoria. It uses a range of data to
forecast and make flood predictions that are communicated to the public as Flood Watches and Flood
Warnings. Sources of data include rain and stream gauges (from many partner agencies), which are
used with forecast rainfall in flood prediction models.
As the flood escalates, the BoM consults with the State Control Centre, Regional Control Centre and
the ICC (particularly the intelligence cell) in relation to data inputs, along with advice based on
monitoring and prediction activities.
Prior to the 2012 flood, infrastructure upgrades included telemetry at Tungamah (Boosey Creek) and
Katamatite (Broken Creek) stream gauges. New gauges were installed with telemetry at Walshs
Bridge and Nathalia, both on the Broken Creek. This allowed real time data to be utilised via the BoM
(Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority, 2012).
On the other hand, there is no permanent stream gauge and telemetry at Numurkah. Predictions had
to be made based on the upstream Tungamah and Katamatite gauges, which would have only
provided an indication of some of the inflow from a range of tributaries (see Figure 3). A Portable
Automated Logger System (PALS) was installed at Numurkah to provide real-time flow data. However,
“the first lot (PALS) went in just after the peaks at Numurkah, so we never knew about them”.
(Environment and Natural Resources Committee, 2012),
The timeliness of warnings was thus inhibited by the incomplete gauging of the tributaries flowing
towards Numurkah and the lack of an associated flood warning system at Numurkah. It should be
45
noted that the capital costs of stream or rain gauges installed (or upgraded to telemetry) for flood
warning purposes are generally shared between the state and the commonwealth, subject to ongoing
maintenance and asset replacement costs being borne by local government.
However, although flood warning requires improvement at Numurkah, warnings will always tend to be
more accurate and timely in Nathalia, as it is further downstream, giving an increased warning time
and substantially more data on which to base a warning. The prediction of flood behaviour in Nathalia
is also not confounded by the complex hydrology immediately upstream as it is at Numurkah.
It should also be noted that a Flood Response Plan (in draft) for Nathalia was tested during the flood.
“Intelligence was utilised from this draft plan, which provided flood intelligence: mapping; gauged
relationships between Walshs Bridge and the Nathalia Gauge; which outlying properties required
sandbagging; and when to commence the installation of the demountable barriers” (Goulburn Broken
Catchment Management Authority, 2012).
4.1.3 Community flood education
Community flood education and engagement are important mechanisms through learning to raise
community risk awareness, help prepare communities and encourage appropriate response and
recovery behaviours (Elsworth et al, 2009; Dufty, 2012).
Although the Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority and Moira Shire Council have roles
in community flood education and engagement as per the Nathalia Floodplain Management Plan and
MFEP, the primary provider in Victoria is VICSES.
In 2011, VICSES released its Community Education Strategy, 2011-2016 (VICSES, 2011b). The
Strategy states that “Community education seeks to build acceptance of natural hazard risks within the
community and to collaborate and partner with the community in preparing for them, ultimately
strengthening the resilience of communities”.
The VICSES FloodSafe program is the main flood program emanating from the Strategy, and includes
a comprehensive range of community engagement events and activities, such as media strategy, local
resources (signs, brochure, Local Flood Guide, photos and maps) displays, visits, workshops,
partnerships and community days/expos/come and try days.
According to a report prepared by VICSES for this review (VICSES, 2012), VICSES had one full-time
member for community education and engagement across the whole of the North East Region and
with state-wide education duties.
Prior to the 2012 flood, Nathalia was targeted for community flood education attention. According to
the VICSES report, during 2009/2010 Moira Shire Council (in partnership with the VICSES and some
consultancies) initiated the Nathalia FloodSafe steering committee to fully fund and implement
FloodSafe and a Flood Warning Service Charter for the Broken Creek at Nathalia. This committee had
developed, planned, implemented and/or installed:
a community reference group
a Flood Warning Service Charter, including the establishment of a FM88 community
radio/warning system, and a telephone warning system (operational). This telephone flood
warning system was used during Feb/March 2012 floods
a FloodSafe brochure
planned a field day and community launch (March–May 2010) to include set up of the flood
barriers, bus trip to Walshs Bridge gauge, sandbag demo, BoM demo, school visits, BBQ.
completed landscaping works and installed the flood barriers in situ (exercise)
completed community engagement activities, including a FloodSafe display at Nathalia Show
(2010) and FloodSafe display at Nathalia IGA (2011)
46
According to the report, the only community flood education and engagement activities specifically
targeted for Numurkah was in 2011 when the Numurkah VICSES unit distributed FloodSafe week
posters around the town/community noticeboards, and set up FloodSafe display in Newman Square,
and distributed 50 FloodSafe information packs. There were also some broader range activities for
FloodSafe Week in 2009, 2010 and 2011 across the study area, including media releases and a
school colouring competition.
4.1.4 Summary of prevention and preparedness
From Sections 4.1.2 and 4.1.3, an understanding of the differences in flood prevention and
preparedness between Nathalia and Numurkah can be gleaned that helps explain the community
responses in Table 5, and the Numurkah Hospital scenario. The differences are summarised in Table
6.
Table 5: Some significant differences between Nathalia and Numurkah in relation to prevention and preparedness
PreventionandpreparednessactivityNathaliaNumurkah
Levee Upgraded levee system No levee
Flood study Yes Yes
Floodplain management plan Yes No
Municipal flood emergency plan Yes Yes (but no understanding
of flood risk and behaviour)
River gauge and telemetry Four gauges used in
flood warning system
including one at Nathalia
No gauge at Numurkah.
Dependent on two
upstream gauges with only
partial catchment coverage
Flood warning system Yes No
Draft flood response plan for town Yes No
Community flood education and
engagement
Targeted and tailored
FloodSafe program plan
developed and
implemented
Limited to FloodSafe
Week. No specific
FloodSafe program plan
In particular, Table 5 helps to explain differences in risk awareness and preparedness levels in Table
4. One would expect that the FloodSafe program targeted and tailored to Nathalia would assist in
community learning to raise risk awareness and encourage the preparation of emergency kits and
plans. Furthermore, the lack of a floodplain management plan for Numurkah would help explain why
the involvement in flood planning is far lower for that town in comparison with Nathalia.
4.1.5 Local knowledge
From the community survey and public submissions, the main reason for community dissatisfaction
with the planned response; particularly in Numurkah, was that the emergency services did not listen to
47
local knowledge during the 2012 flood (see Sections 3.3.2 and 3.3.3). “Local knowledge” can be
interpreted two ways:
1. Experience of previous floods for example 1993, 1974 for the study area
2. Local real-time observations during the flood.
With no gauge in Numurkah the decision was made by the BoM and the Shepparton ICC to directly
refer to the 1993 flood (the last major flood in the town) in warnings, as this would trigger recognition
of the likely serious nature of flooding. Manual 21 Flood Warning (Attorney General’s Department,
2009) encourages the use of past floods as references to include in warning messages. However,
unfortunately from some community feedback (including public submissions), this appeared to
encourage specific comparisons by parts of the local community (especially those having previous
flood experience) with the 1993 flood behaviour, causing them to not be prepared as well as possible
for the faster-than-expected flood peak (Section 1.2.1). Thus “local knowledge” that referenced the
1993 flood would not in hindsight have been useful for ascertaining flood peak timing, although it
would have been for flood height comparisons (most of the high water marks from the 2012 flood are
higher than the 1993 flood but a number are lower).
Every incident has its individual characteristics that are different from event to event, so it is not
advisable to use past history without local intelligence.
What happened in Numurkah illustrates the difficulties inherent in the role of the BoM. On the one
hand, it is better that the BoM provide information and warnings than not. On the other, information
and warnings are only as good as the information on which they are based, whether it is historical,
topographical or based on current data. In many situations the quality of the information will depend on
decisions not made by the BoM itself, whether during the flood event itself or during the planning and
development of a flood warning service for that area.
As a result, it would be desirable for the BoM, in providing information both to agencies and to the
public, to build in caveats relating to the level of confidence that can be placed on what it is providing
as predictions. BoM could also draw attention to the difficulty of giving more than broad predictions
and warnings where the immediate causes (such as the volume of rainfall in a particular place) are
unprecedented and the available data (such as river levels) is not complete or unavailable.
The rainfall totals shown in Table 6 suggest that the difference between the 1993 and 2012 floods may
have been caused by the different centres of heavy rainfall, however there are other factors that would
have influenced the runoff. In October 1993, there was relatively little rainfall over the Broken Creek
catchment with an average of about 120 mm falling in five days. The flood was caused mainly by the
large volume of water breaking away from Broken River at Casey’s Weir downstream of Benalla.
On the other hand, there was close to record rainfall recorded in the Broken Creek catchment in
March 2012, with an average of 250 mm in six days. The Broken River catchment received
considerably less rain and did not even produce minor flooding at Benalla. There was also a large
amount of overland flow in the 2012 flood that contributed to the flood behaviour.
The resultant difference in flows and flood peaks between the two floods is shown in Table 7.
Table 6: Rainfall for locations in and around the Broken Creek catchment related to the1993 flood and 2012 flood
(Source: Bureau of Meteorology website www.bom.gov.au/vic)
LocationRainfall1Oct5Oct1993Rainfall28Feb4Mar2012
Boorhaman 107.2 mm 299.6 mm
Tungamah 95.2 mm 289.0 mm
Gooroombat 106.2 mm 264.9 mm
48
Mollyullah 218.4 mm 256.8 mm
Dookie 130.6 mm 216.0 mm
Yarroweyah 61.0 mm 187.2 mm
AVERAGE 119.8 mm 252.3 mm
Table 7: Flood peaks and flows in the Broken River and Broken Creek catchments in 1993 flood and 2012 flood
(Source: Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority data)
Location
Oct1993
Peaklevel(m)
Mar2012
Peaklevel(m)
Oct1993
PeakFlow
(ML/day)
Mar2012
PeakFlow
(ML/day)
Broken River at Benalla 5.5 2.4 112,000 ~9,000
Boosey Creek at Tungamah 2.7 2.9 15,400 ~22,000
Broken Creek at Katamatite 2.7 3.1 6,300 ~13,800
In relation to the second interpretation of local knowledge, there was no system of flood wardens or
trained flood observers in place to allow for trained local people; for example residents and farmers to
provide real-time data to the ICC and Divisional Command at Numurkah. Some stakeholder
interviewees said they struggled trying to validate local observations and there “appeared to be a large
amount of misinformation”.
The local flood observations could also be obtained from emergency agency field crews. This
occurred, but it was hampered by agencies using different information systems and radio frequencies
(see Section 3). As the Divisional Command at Numurkah did not establish sectors and crews in the
town, flood intelligence was not obtained in a systematic way.
4.1.6 March 2012 flood prediction
As a result largely of what was described in the above Section 4.1, the flood peak at Numurkah was
not accurately predicted by the BoM (in consultation with the Shepparton ICC), whereas at Nathalia it
was.
For Numurkah, Figure 7 provides an analysis of flood warnings provided by the BoM in relation to
indicative hydrographs for the upstream Katamatite and downstream Walshs Bridge gauge. It uses
river gauge data provided for these locations from the BoM flood warnings issued to the public.
The warning message on Friday 2 March indicated that “river levels at Numurkah are expected to
reach similar levels as the 1993 flood by early next week”. Figure 7 shows that the flood peak arrived
on Sunday 4 March at 1600 hours.
The flood warning for Broken Creek at Numurkah issued at 1015 hrs on Sunday 4 March contained
different advice to those before saying, “River levels around Numurkah are currently higher than both
the 1993 and 1974 levels in the area. Levels are continuing to rise with a peak expected during
Sunday”.
The BoM provides categories of flood severity - Minor, Moderate, Major flooding – but to date, there
have not been any flood categories defined for locations on Broken Creek. However, the Shepparton
49
ICC did use this category for its OSOM releases, and issued a “Minor” flood warning for Broken Creek
on Sunday 4 March (see Table 1), including 19 minutes after it had peaked at Numurkah (Evidence:
OSOM log).
As shown in Figure 8, the flood prediction for Nathalia was accurate. On Monday 5 March the
prediction was “a peak around 3.2 to 3.35 metres during next Thursday (8 March)” when the level was
less than 2.1m and rising slowly. The resultant peak was 3.26 metres during late Thursday 8 March.
Without the focus on flood mitigation in Nathalia and the accurate flood prediction for the town
damages would likely have been substantially greater than at Numurkah.
4.1.7 Local emergency management coordination
For incident management at Numurkah, the above issues were exacerbated by chain of command
and communication matters. As noted in Section 3.3.9, the roles of the Divisional Command and the
VICSES Unit at Numurkah were not clearly defined in relation to the Shepparton ICC. The Divisional
Command could have used the VICSES Unit as a sector under its command but did not do so.
However, according to some stakeholder interview responses, the Divisional Command set up in the
Numurkah CFA headquarters did not know its role due to lack of training. The poor chain of command
and communications caused confusion and frustration, as evidenced by some interviewee comments.
In some cases it led to duplication of and gaps in operational activities, such as sandbagging.
Both the Divisional Command and the VICSES Unit commented in stakeholder interviews that
communications with the ICC were poor and they generally felt they “had to do their own thing”. On
the night (Saturday 3 March) before the Numurkah Hospital flooded, both were told by the Shepparton
ICC that there was no immediate risk of flooding in Numurkah.
4.1.8 Why the Numurkah Hospital flooded
According to public submissions to this review, floodwaters started to enter the Numurkah Hospital on
Sunday 4 March at 0600 hours. This prompted immediate evacuation of the eleven patients. No
warning was received to activate the hospital’s emergency plan, mainly because the ICC believed
there was no risk of this level of flooding at that time. Sandbagging of the hospital did not commence
until one hour before it was inundated.
The timing of flooding of Numurkah Hospital is important to note in relation to Section 4.1.6. A flood
warning saying the flood levels were above 1993 and 1974 levels was first issued at 1015 hours on
Sunday 4 March, some four hours after the hospital was inundated. The flood peak arrived at about
1600 hours on that day.
It is clear from the analysis that the flooding of the Numurkah Hospital, before any warning had been
received or preventative action taken was due largely to a combination of the following factors:
a flood warning system that was unable to provide accurate and timely data due to a lack of river
gauges that could have enabled more reliable prediction;
reliance on historical precedents whereas the 2012 flood displayed a number of different
characteristics;
limited coordination of the local emergency services.
50
Figure 6: 100 year ARI flood map for Numurkah (2008) (Source: Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority)
51
Figure 7: Analysis of flood predictions for Numurkah (Source: Molino Stewart)
Broken Creek at Walshs Bridge
Broken Creek at WalshsBridge
Broken Creek at Katamatite
52
Figure 8: Analysis of flood predictions at Nathalia (Source: Molino Stewart)
53
4.2 COMPARISON WITH THE REVIEW OF THE 2010-11 FLOOD
WARNINGS AND RESPONSE
4.2.1 Review of the 2010-11 Flood Warnings and Response
Part of the terms of reference for this review is to compare the findings against the recommendations
of the Review of the 2010-11 Flood Warnings and Response (see Section 1.1).
Between September 2010 and February 2011, many Victorian towns and communities were affected
by floods that caused widespread damage and loss. Several communities were subjected to
successive floods causing repeated damage. On 8 February 2011, the Premier of Victoria Mr Ted
Baillieu MLA announced the Review of the 2010-11 Flood Warnings and Response.
In accordance with its terms of reference, the Review of the 2010-11 Flood Warnings and Response
examined:
the adequacy of flood predictions and modelling
the timeliness and effectiveness of warnings and public information
emergency services command and control arrangements
the adequacy of evacuations of people most at-risk, including those in health and aged care
facilities
the adequacy of clean-up and recovery efforts
the adequacy of service delivery by federal, state and local governments
the adequacy of funding provided by state and federal governments for emergency grants.
The review was led by Mr Neil Comrie AO APM, former Chief Commissioner of Victoria Police and
current Bushfires Royal Commission Implementation Monitor, who holds significant expertise and
understanding of the state’s emergency management arrangements.
It was hoped that the review findings would help guide the government’s response and planning to
ensure Victoria is better equipped to deal with similarly severe flooding events in the future.
On 30 June 2011, the Review of the 2010-11 Flood Warnings and Response interim report was
provided to Premier Mr Ted Baillieu. The interim report provided an account of the review's progress
made to date, an indication of the future work program and an outline of the key themes and issues
that emerged during the course of work undertaken.
On 1 December 2011, the Review of the 2010-11 Flood Warnings and Response final report was
provided to Premier Mr Ted Baillieu. The final report addressed the many issues arising from the
review's terms of reference and detailed 93 recommendations that, if implemented, would support
necessary reform of the state's emergency management arrangements.
4.2.2 Comparison
It was never the intention of this review to track progress against the findings and recommendations of
the Review of the 2010-11 Flood Warnings and Response. Nevertheless comparisons can be made
with that review; particularly in relation to:
the adequacy of flood predictions and modelling
the timeliness and effectiveness of warnings and public information
54
emergency services command and control arrangements
the adequacy of evacuations of people most at-risk, including those in health and aged care
facilities.
In terms of flood predictions and modelling, by comparing Nathalia with Numurkah this review shows
the potency of having a flood warning system using stream gauges and telemetry. This finding is
strongly advocated in a range of findings and recommendations in Chapter 1 of the Review of the
2010-11 Flood Warnings and Response. For example, Recommendation 3 states that “the state
develop a flood warning system for each basin and location with community input and make relevant
documents publicly available. Each warning system should include key performance indicators”.
Obviously, there is more work required across the Broken Creek catchment to improve flood warning
systems particularly at Numurkah.
The Review of the 2010-11 Flood Warnings and Response (Chapter1) found that there were “notable
gaps” in mapping, gauging and education programs related to the flood-affected areas. The same
could be said for Numurkah where there was no permanent gauge with telemetry, and minimal
community flood education (in comparison with Nathalia).
Recommendation 9 states that the “state, in consultation with Bureau of Meteorology and Melbourne
Water, take the necessary action to ensure that all flood warnings issued are linked to the
geographical location of the gauge the data was derived from”. In the 2012 flood, the early flood
warnings issued for Broken Creek were subsumed into Broken River warnings. Some stakeholder
interviewees believed this caused confusion in the community and made it difficult for agency
interpretation.
Recommendation 14 states that “the state clarify the role of intelligence cell staff; for example,
hydrologists and/or Catchment Management Authority who are utilised in Incident Control Centres
during flood events”. For the 2012 flood, according to stakeholder interviewees there was an effective
use of a hydrologist and Catchment Management Authority staff in the intelligence cell of the
Shepparton ICC. However, it is crucial that the relevant information/intelligence is communicated
between the ICC and Division Command to enable the effective use of this intelligence. This will
address matters raised in sections 3.3.9 and 4.1.7 of this report.
As in this review (Section 4.1.5), the Review of the 2010-11 Flood Warnings and Response identified
and discussed the use of local knowledge in flood planning and response. Like this review, it found
that communities were frustrated that emergency services apparently disregarded them as an
information source.
On page 65, the Review of the 2010-11 Flood Warnings and Response advocates the use of local
knowledge to “inform the decisions of those responsible for response activities within the emergency
management framework. It considers that accreditation of community members would strengthen the
communication and information sharing processes from communities to the control agency and vice
versa. The accreditation process should include an understanding of the AIIMS framework and
training in data collection. This will ensure quality information is provided to the control agency,
particularly where there are significant implications from the information provided”. A similar
improvement was mentioned by some stakeholder interviewees in this review.
On the other hand, the Review of the 2010-11 Flood Warnings and Response warned against the
dependence on previous flood behaviour understanding as part of local knowledge input to flood
planning and response. On Page 64 it states, “Buloke Shire Council noted that local planning based
on previous experience and knowledge was of little value as water was “behaving” in ways outside the
experience of even the oldest “flood hands” in the town (although local knowledge was useful once the
event unfolded)”. The same was found in this review (Section 4.1.5) where the 2012 flood in the
Broken Creek catchment displayed some characteristics that were different to the 1993 flood
especially in terms of timing of the flood peak.
55
There are also some findings from this review that are relevant to Chapter 2 (adequacy, timeliness
and effectiveness of flood warnings and public information) of the Review of the 2010-11 Flood
Warnings and Response.
The Review of the 2010-11 Flood Warnings and Response calls for adequate, timely and effective
flood warnings. In relation to page 79 of the Review of the 2010-11 Flood Warnings and Response it
appears for the 2012 flood that the BoM was unable to provide a category of “Minor”, “Moderate” and
“Major” flood warnings for Broken Creek, as it did not have a specialised warning system installed in
the area. From the analysis in Sections 3 and 4 of this report, in the 2012 flood the flood warnings
relating to Numurkah were not timely or effective. This is well highlighted by Table 1 of this report
where from VICSES logs the Shepparton ICC was issuing Minor flood warnings for Broken Creek on
the same day (4 March) the flood peaked at Numurkah. The timeliness and effectiveness of warnings
was obviously hampered by lack of adequate gauge coverage and a flood warning system for
Numurkah.
Chapter 3 of the Review of the 2010-11 Flood Warnings and Response deals with emergency
services command and control arrangements utilised to manage the emergency.
In relation to interoperability (pages 126 and 127 of the Review of the 2010-11 Flood Warnings and
Response) it is clear that further work is required in the study area. As noted in Section 3 of this report,
there are still some “cultural differences” between the agencies, and there were issues identified
relating to different information systems and radio frequencies used by VICSES and the CFA.
The command and control (pages 120-122 of the Review of the 2010-11 Flood Warnings and
Response) was poorly established and communicated in Numurkah. There was no chain of command
established between the Divisional Command and local VICSES Unit. Communication between both
and the ICC was described as “poor” by Numurkah stakeholder interviewees.
The Review of the 2010-11 Flood Warnings and Response “also received submissions from a number
of VICSES volunteers expressing concern that they were required to act as leaders of VICSES
Divisional Commands (the incident level of control) yet had not been trained or given any direction to
perform such roles” (page 122). This issue of lack of training was also raised by the Divisional
Command interviewees in Numurkah.
Chapter 4 of the Review of the 2010-11 Flood Warnings and Response relates to the evacuation of
people at greatest risk. Three relevant issues were identified in this review:
1. Only one of the three local councils had an up-to-date register of vulnerable people.
2. Although Numurkah hospital apparently had an evacuation plan, it was not triggered due to
lack of warning from the emergency services until after floodwaters entered the building.
3. Some interviewees commented on difficulties people had in travelling to the evacuation centre
at Cobram as it was cut by rising floodwaters.
56
5 CONCLUSION
Based on its terms of reference, this review of the 2012 March North East Flood found some
significant issues; particularly across the Broken River catchment, that relate to adequacy of river
gauges, flood warning systems and prior community flood education. Where there was a flood warning
system and adequate gauging, such as Nathalia, these led to timely warnings through robust flood
intelligence. On the other hand, when there was incomplete gauging of tributaries and no flood
warning system, as at Numurkah, warnings were poorly timed. Along the Broken Creek, warnings
were not well distinguished from the Broken River warnings due to the lack of an established flood
warning system and, therefore, they were not tailored to the local area.
One lesson is that since every incident has its own individual characteristics, it is not advisable to use
past history without current local intelligence when trying to predict flood behaviour. It would be
desirable for the BoM, when providing information both to agencies and the public, to include caveats
relating to the level of confidence it places on the information behind predictions.
There were several other issues identified that related to incident management. Of primary concern
are the poorly-defined roles of the Divisional Command and VICSES Unit at Numurkah in relation to
the Shepparton ICC. This led to duplication and gaps in incident management operations, including
sandbagging.
The above issues were largely responsible for the late evacuation of Numurkah Hospital.
Other incident management issues identified included interoperability of communication and
information systems, cross-agency training and exercising, and VICSES capability in AIIMS.
57
6 REFERENCES
References included BoM flood warnings, VICSES flood bulletins and data supplied by the emergency
services including OSOM logs and SITREP reports.
Other sources of evidence referenced in this report were:
Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2012, Community Profiles for Numurkah, Nathalia and Tallygaroopna.
http://www.abs.gov.au/websitedbs/censushome.nsf/home/communityprofiles?opendocument&navp
os=230
Attorney-General’s Department, 2009, Manual 21 Flood Warning, Australian Emergency Manuals
Series, Commonwealth of Australia
Comrie, N., 2011, Review of the 2010-11 Flood Warnings & Response, State Government of Victoria,
Australia
Cottingham, P., Stewardson, M., Roberts, J., Metzeling, L., Humphries, P., Hillman, T., & Hannan, G.,
2001, Report of the Broken River Scientific Panel on the environmental condition and flows of the
Broken River and Broken Creek, Cooperative Research Centre for Freshwater Ecology University
of Canberra, ACT 2601, Technical Report 10/2001
Department of Water Resources, 1989, Water Victoria - A Resource Handbook, Department of Water
Resources, Victoria
Dufty, N., 2012, Learning for Disaster Resilience, Paper presented at Earth: Fire and Rain, Australian
& New Zealand Disaster and Emergency Management Conference, Brisbane,16-18 April 2012
Environment and Natural Resources Committee, 2012, Transcript - Inquiry into flood mitigation
infrastructure in Victoria, Numurkah, 14 May 2012
Elsworth, G., Gilbert, J., Robinson, P., Rowe, C., and Stevens, K., 2009, National Review of
Community Education, Awareness and Engagement Programs for Natural Hazards, report by
RMIT University commissioned by the National Community Safety Working Group of the Australian
Emergency Management Committee.
Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority, 2002, Goulburn Broken Regional Floodplain
Management Strategy
Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority, 2012, Flood at Nathalia – Largest Flood on
Record, fact sheet
Grothmann, T., & Reusswig, F., 2006, People at Risk of Flooding: Why Some Residents Take
Precautionary Action While Others do not, Natural Hazards Vol 38, pp 101-120
Moira Shire Council, 2010, Flood Plan: A Sub Plan of the Moira Shire Municipal Emergency
Management Plan Version 4.1
Northfield, A., Umakhanthan, U. and Spears, M., 2005 Nathalia Floodplain Management Plan. Final
Report, November 2005. Prepared for the Goulburn Broken CMA and the Moira Shire Council by
SMEC Australia Pty Ltd
Paton, D., McClure, J., & Burgelt, P.T., 2006, Natural hazard resilience: the role of individual and
household preparedness, in Paton, D., & Johnston, D., (eds.), Disaster Resilience: An Integrated
Approach, Charles C Thomas Publishers Ltd, Springfield.
Office of the Emergency Services Commissioner, 2009, Victorian Warning Protocol, State of Victoria
Queensland Police Service, 2011, Disaster management and social media – a case study, Media and
Public Affairs Branch, Queensland Police Service
58
SMEC, 2005, Nathalia Floodplain Management Plan, report for the Goulburn Broken CMA, Moira
Shire Council, DSE
Strahan Research, 2012, Impact of the February-March 2012 Floods on Affected North-Eastern
Victorian Communities, a report for the Office of the Emergency Services Commissioner
Tate, B., Muncaster, S., and Connell, R., 2011, Numurkah Flood Study Hydrological Analysis. Final
Report, March 2011. Prepared for Moira Shire Council by Water Technology Pty Ltd
VICSES, 2011a, Template - Flood Emergency Plan: A Sub-Plan of the Municipal Emergency
Management Plan
VICSES, 2011b, Community Education Strategy, 2011-2016
VICSES, 2012, Response to request for flood / FloodSafe Community Education and Engagement
focussing on Shepparton Numurkah and Nathalia
White, C.M., 2012, Social Media, Crisis Communication, and Emergency Management: Leveraging
Web2.0 Technology, CRC Press, Boca Raton
59
GLOSSARY OF TERMS
100 year Average Recurrence Interval (ARI) flood - is a best estimate of a flood which has 1 chance
in 100 of occurring in any one year. It should be noted that planning for the 1 in 100 year ARI flood
does not guarantee protection for the next 100 years.
Emergency Alert (EA) - Emergency Alert is a telephone warning system that emergency services can
use to send alerts to communities via landline telephones based on the location of the handset, and to
mobile phones, based on the service address of the phone.
Emergency Service Provider (ESP) - An agency, department or organisation either responsible for,
or that provides support for the protection and preservation of life and property from harm resulting
from incidents and emergencies.
Flood Category Definitions:
Minor Flooding - Causes inconvenience. Low lying areas next to watercourses are inundated
requiring the removal of stock and equipment. Minor roads may be closed and low level bridges
submerged.
Moderate Flooding - In addition to the above, may require the evacuation of some houses. Main
traffic routes may be covered. The area of inundation is substantial in rural areas.
Major Flooding - In addition to the above, causes inundation of extensive rural areas and
appreciable urban areas. Properties and towns are likely to be isolated and major traffic routes
likely to be closed. Numerous evacuations may be required.
Flood Warning - Warning issued by the Bureau of Meteorology or Local Government (especially for
flash flooding) to media, agencies and the public. The message usually contains details that flooding is
about to occur or is happening, predictions, expected impact, and can include what actions should be
taken. It also contains detail on when the warning was issued and when the next update can be
expected.
One Source One Message (OSOM) - OSOM is the principle system used by emergency services in
Victoria to issue information and warnings to the community and provides simultaneous warnings and
information to the community via emergency broadcasters, the CFA, the VICSES and DSE websites
and other information mediums.
Probable Maximum Flood (PMF) - the flood that may be expected from the most severe combination
of critical meteorological and hydrologic conditions that are reasonably possible in a particular
catchment.
APPENDIX A – REVIEW LINES OF ENQUIRY AND
SUMMARY OF FINDINGS
ID Type Expectation Key Performance Question Performance Measure / Evidence Data Sources Review Findings
Prevention
C EMPs collaborate with
each other to deliver a
quality, seamless,
integrated, “one sector”
approach to emergency
management for the
community
Are ESOs delivering a
seamless, integrated approach
to emergency management for
the community?
% and number of
stakeholders(including ESOs)
agreeing there was a seamless and
integrated approach to emergency
management by incident.
Top 5 issues identified by
stakeholders that could be improved to
deliver a seamless integrated
approach to emergency management
by incident
Stakeholder interview
questions 3 & 4 (State,
Region), de-briefs, event time
lines, SITREP; relate to
EMMV, SOPs, flood plans,
Victorian Warning Protocol
37.5% of stakeholders felt there
was a seamless and integrated
approach in the incident
Top 5 issues for improvement
were:
- greater resourcing for VICSES
(staff and funds)
- further training for VICSES staff in
AIIMS
- greater coverage of flood studies,
floodplain risk management plans
across the study area
- increased community flood
education and engagement
- improving compatibility of systems
across agencies
D EMPs’ workforces share a
core set of skills and
competencies so that, in a
major or extended incident,
personnel can be
exchanged between EMPs
without adverse impacts on
the level or quality of
services provided for the
community
How interoperable is the
workforce?
Percentage and number of the
workforce that reported interoperability
issues?
Stakeholder interview question
3 (Council, Div Comm) 5
(State, Region) , workforce
survey, de-briefs
55.4% of incident management
staff from workforce survey agreed
that agencies worked well together
72.3% of stakeholder
interviewees reported
interoperability issues
G The community and
stakeholders are aware of
and understand the
emergency risks and
dangers they are exposed
to
How aware is each local
community of the risks they
face?
Did the community understand
the flood risk in their area?
The percentage of the community of
the community that have awareness
(yes/no) - comparison of results
The percentage of community
members that received information
regarding risk (yes/no) - comparison of
results
The percentage of community
members that understood what the
impacts could be on their property
Community survey question 1;
relate with evidence of
community flood education
programs from VICSES,
CMAs, local councils
75.8% said they were aware of
the flood risk prior to the flood
Prepare
H Responsibility for
emergency management is
shared across the whole
community, including
households, community
organisations, local
councils, EMPs,
businesses and
government agencies.
• All members of the
community take
appropriate actions to
prevent emergencies and
mitigate the identified risks
• All members of the
community have genuine
opportunities to contribute
to planning and preparing
for emergencies in their
community
• The community,
individuals, businesses,
volunteers, EMPs and
other government agencies
understand their roles in
the event of an emergency
so they can respond in an
effective, coordinated and
timely way
Had households developed
actions to minimise the risk for
their household?
Percentage of the households that
had discussed their risk and planned
appropriately
What percentage of households had
a written plan for the emergency?
What percentage of households had
an unwritten plan for the emergency?
Community survey questions 2
and 3; relate with
preparedness data from
VICSES e.g. reported
emergency plans also
community flood education
e.g. FloodSafe plans; MEMPs,
Flood Plans; CMA flood
studies and plans
35% of respondents said they
had an emergency kit prior to the
flood
9.1% said they had a written
emergency plan prior to the flood
Have communities had
opportunities to be involved
and contribute to emergency
planning in their community
Percentage of the community that
had contributed to mitigation planning
Community survey question 4;
MEMPs ; Flood Plans, CMA
flood studies and plans
29.2% of respondents said they
or another member of their family
had been involved in or contributed
to flood planning in their community
How well do people
understand their roles in an
emergency?
Percentage of the community that
understood their roles and
responsibilities in the event of an
emergency
Stakeholder interview question
6 (Region) 4 (Div Comm,
Council), Community survey
question 5
75% of respondents knew that
the VICSES is responsible for
helping them to deal with a flood
emergency
33% of stakeholders thought that
the communities and the ESPs
understood their roles in the
emergency
I People in the community
know what to do in an
emergency, including how
to help vulnerable people
Did the community feel the
community was prepared for
the imminent danger?
Did the community know what
to do in response to a flood
event?
Did the community know what
to do for vulnerable people?
Percentage of the community that felt
the community was prepared for the
imminent danger associated with the
flood event?
Percentage of the community that
knew what to do in response in a flood
event
Percentage and number of councils
that have up to date lists of where the
vulnerable people would be that would
require assistance in an emergency
Percentage of the community by
local area that knew how to help
vulnerable people in a flood event
Stakeholder interview question
5 (council) - vulnerable
persons list; Community
survey question 6
92.6% of survey respondents
were confident they could keep
themselves safe in a flood
87.1% of survey respondents
were confident they could keep
their family safe in a flood
75.4% of survey respondents
were confident they could protect
their house and property in a flood
79% of survey respondents were
confident they could help
neighbours in a flood
33% of local councils had an up-
to-date register of vulnerable
persons
Respond
L An effective incident
management system is in
place that ensures timely
and quality decisions are
made to support effective
response to the
emergency.
How effective was the incident
management system?
How adequate, timely and
relevant was the
information/intelligence
required to inform operational
decision making and
community information and
warning?
Percentage and number of
stakeholders that agreed that the
incident was well managed,
coordinated and communicated
Percentage and number
stakeholders that agreed that the
appropriate local level input was taken
into account.
Percentage and number
stakeholders that agreed there was an
understanding of roles and
responsibilities
Percentage and number
stakeholders that agreed that the
information/intelligence provided was
adequate, timely and relevant
Percentage and number of
stakeholders that agreed that there
had been timely and quality decisions
made
Stakeholder interview
questions 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12
(region) 6-11 (council) 4-9 (Div
Comm) 6-8 (state) ; relate time
lines, SITREP to EMMV,
SOPs, flood plans, MEMPs,
Victorian Warning Protocol;
de-briefs
40% of stakeholder interviewees
agreed that the incident was well
managed, coordinated and
communicated
37% of stakeholder interviewees
agreed that the appropriate local
level input was taken into account.
27% of stakeholder interviewees
agreed there was an understanding
of roles and responsibilities
36% of stakeholder interviewees
agreed that the
information/intelligence provided
was adequate, timely and relevant
56% of stakeholder interviewees
agreed that there had been timely
and quality decisions made
How can the incident
management be improved?
Top 8 issues that were identified
across the incident
Stakeholder interview question
13 (region) 12 (council) 10
(Div Comm) 9 (state); de-
briefs
Top 8 issues were:
- Conduct flood studies and develop
floodplain management plans for
those communities that do not have
them
- Improve the quality of municipal
flood emergency plans
- Consider further use of the
Portable Automated Logger System
to augment existing gauge and
telemetry system
- Clarify chain of command from
ICC to Divisional Command to
VICSES Unit
- Conduct inter-agency exercising
around flood and fire scenarios
- Ensure that all ESPs have access
to the same information system and
radio frequency
- Build VICSES capability in the
new structure of AIIMS through
training and pre-event drilling
- Increase and improve community
flood education to assist community
flood learning
M Information and
communication systems
across all levels of
government are
interoperable to ensure an
effective response by
EMPs to the community’s
needs
Were the information and
communication systems
interoperable to ensure an
effective response to the
community's needs?
Percentage and number of the
workforce that agreed that the
information and communication
systems they had during the
emergency were interoperable and
met their needs
workforce survey; de-briefs;
stakeholder interviews (check
all questions)
72.3% of stakeholder
interviewees reported
interoperability issues
Top 8 issues that limited
interoperability of information and
communication systems
Stakeholder interview (check
all questions), workforce
survey; de-briefs; community
meetings
ESPs did not have access to the
same information system and radio
frequency
N People receive clear,
realistic and authoritative
messages about the
proposed response and the
actions they should take
Was the information
disseminated by agencies to
the community during the flood
event in a timely, relevant and
tailored way and in an
appropriate format?
Could the community access
the information they needed?
Did the people of the
community of Nathalia receive
and understand the evacuation
warning for Nathalia?
What did the community feel
could be done better in the
future?
Percentage of the community that
were satisfied that the information was
disseminated by agencies in a timely,
relevant and tailored way and in an
appropriate format
What were the top 8 ways the
community found about the
emergency
Percentage of the community that
were satisfied with how they were
informed
What percentage of households
were satisfied that the evacuation
warnings issued to the Nathalia
community were timely, relevant and
informative to enable individuals to
make an informed decision?
Top 5 issues ways communication
could be improved
Community survey questions
7, 8, 9, 10; EA & OSOM
reports; de-briefs; community
meeting notes; BoM warnings;
VICSES media releases
including evacuation warnings;
public submissions
84% of survey respondents were
satisfied that the information was
disseminated by agencies in a
timely, relevant and tailored way
and in an appropriate format to
protect themselves
Top8 ways community found out
about the emergency were: saw
water rising, radio, TV, from
locals/neighbours warnings, when
flooded/no warning,
experience/local knowledge,
emergency services, upstream
communities flooded
67.1% of survey respondents
were satisfied with how they were
informed
93.8% of Nathalia residents
confirmed that they should have
received an evacuation warning
and did get one
Main improvements identified by
the community were: to better
access local knowledge including
the experience and insights of local
residents; use local radio/TV/ local
focus, Emergency Alert/SMS
messages, clearer up-to-date local
information
Did the community know where
to get more up-to-date
authoritative advice that met
their needs?
Percentage of the community that
were able to find any further
information they needed.
What were the top 8 ways used by
the community to get further
information
Community survey question
11, 12, 13 &14; de-briefs;
community meeting notes;
85% of survey respondents
confirmed that were able to find any
further information they needed
The top 8 ways used by the
community to get further
information were: neighbours,
emergency services, television,
ABC local radio, community
meetings, websites, community
radio, family
O Emergency services are
mobilised and provide the
emergency response in an
effective and timely way,
meeting the community’s
needs
Did the community get the
support they needed?
Percentage of the community that
were satisfied with the support
provided.
Top 8 issues that need improving
Community survey questions
15 and 16; de-briefs;
community meetings; public
submissions
76.9% of survey respondents said
they were satisfied with the support
provided.
Main issues for improvement
were: better assistance in preparing
for flood, more timely warning,
better recognition of local
knowledge
What type of services did the
community access to get more
information?
Percentage of the community that
required assistance
Breakdown of support requested
from service providers
Percentage of the community that
were satisfied with the support
Why or why not
Community survey questions
17, 18, 19 & 20; de-briefs;
community meetings
22.2% of survey respondents said
they required assistance during the
flood
76.9% of survey respondents said
they were satisfied with the support
provided.
Main reasons for being satisfied
were helpful, prompt, hardworking
Main reasons for being
dissatisfied were did not receive
assistance to their property or
assistance was inadequate
Were service providers able to
handle the surge in requests
for support?
Evidence from ESTA
Percentage of calls that were not
responded in the affected communities
de-briefs; ESTA data 90% of calls to ESTA were
answered within 20 second
benchmark
P The community and
stakeholders:
• understand the imminent
dangers because they
have access to timely,
relevant and tailored
emergency management
information and warnings
• make informed decisions
about their safety
• have confidence in the
planned response.
Information and warnings:
• are in formats appropriate
to community needs
• reflect an ‘all hazards, all
agencies’ approach, and
are provided through
suitable all-hazards
channels
Did people understand what
the impact of the emergency
would have in their community
and what the planned
response was going to be?
Percentage of people that
understood the impact the flood would
have on their households and the
community
Percentage of the community that
understood what the ESPs were going
to do to respond to the emergency
Percentage of the community that
were confident with the planned
response
Percentage of the Nathalia
community that evacuated
Reasons for individuals in the
Nathalia community evacuating or not
Community survey questions
6, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27,
28, 29 and 30; de-briefs;
community meetings;
evacuation warnings for
Nathalia - OSOM, EA
45.7% of survey respondents said
they needed to take actions once
they became aware of the likely
impact of the flood
57.9% of survey respondents
were confident with the planned
response
38.3% of Nathalia survey
respondents said they evacuated
during the flood
Main reasons for evacuating were
for the safety of their families, and
because they were told to do so be
emergency services
Main reasons for not evacuating
were their property was not
threatened, and there was no threat
to themselves or family
Did people have enough
information to make their
decisions about what to do?
Percentage of the community that
thought they had enough information
to respond to the emergency.
Community survey questions
13 and 14; de-briefs;
community meetings;
85% of survey respondents said
they were able to get the flood
information they needed
Did people use their previously
planned response to inform
their decisions?
Percentage of people that used their
previously planned response to inform
their decisions
Correlation of community
survey questions 2 and 3 with
questions 15 and 16
Anecdotal use of 1993 flood
response
39.7% of survey respondents
reported that they enacted their
emergency plan
Did the community consider
who they should help when
they were making decisions on
their planned actions?
Percentage of the community that
identified that they should help
Community Survey question
16; de-briefs; community
meetings
79% of survey respondents said
they were confident in helping
others during the flood
What does the community
think could be done better in
the future
Breakdown of issues identified Open
ended question)
Community survey question
31; community meetings;
public submissions
Main ways to improve were: using
local knowledge, address
infrastructure issues, provide earlier
warnings
Q Vulnerable people are
supported, including during
any necessary evacuations
How effectively were
vulnerable people supported in
the emergency?
Evidence that stakeholders
contacted the necessary people to
evacuate
Stakeholder interview question
13 (council) 11 (Div Comm) 14
(region); de-briefs; public
submissions; qualitative
comments in community
survey
Only one in three councils had a
vulnerable persons register,
therefore vulnerable people
sometimes difficult to locate
(although only small townships)
R People and communities
exercise choice and share
responsibility for their
safety by taking actions
that align with the planned
response to the emergency
Did people take the advice of
the planned response?
Percentage of people that took the
advice of the planned response
Community survey questions
21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27; de-
briefs; community meetings
63.4% of Nathalia survey
respondents that evacuated, did so
as soon as they received the first
evacuation warning
Why/why not? Breakdown of reasons stated Community survey questions
25, 26, 27
See above re reasons for
evacuating or not
Were the ESPs flexible and
responsive to the community's
needs?
Community perception of the ESPs
flexibility and responsiveness
Community survey question
30 and 31; de-briefs;
community meetings; public
submissions
57% of survey respondents
believed ESPs were responsive
S People affected by or
responding to an
emergency:
• are well informed about
how to access support and
essential services
• are provided with their
immediate needs in a
timely way, including
shelter, food, water,
medical care and other
essential services
• are satisfied with the level
and duration of the support
they receive
Were people well informed
about how to access support
and essential services? Were
support and essential services
provided in a timely way?
Views of stakeholders of whether
people were well informed about
support and essential services and
whether they were provided in a timely
way
Stakeholder interview
questions 15, 16 (region) 12,
13 (Div Comm) 14, 15
(council); de-briefs; community
meetings; DHHS reports
All (100%) of stakeholders
interviewed believed people were
well informed about support and
essential services and whether they
were provided in a timely way. Most
effective mechanisms were
community meetings, radio
announcements, electronic
bulletins, community newsletters,
doorknocking
The community continues
to receive essential and
critical services
Did people continue to receive
services?
Percentage of stakeholders that
observed that people continued to
receive essential and critical services
Stakeholder interview question
17 (region) 14 (Div Comm) 16
(Council); de-briefs;
community meetings; DHHS
reports
All (100%) of stakeholders
interviewed believed people that
people continued to receive
essential and critical services
Recover
T Social, economic and
environmental impacts and
needs are rapidly assessed
and are reflected in a well
planned and
communicated recovery
plan
Were the impacts and needs
rapidly assessed? Was there a
well planned and
communicated recovery plan?
Percentage of stakeholders that
believed the social, economic and
environmental impacts were rapidly
assessed
Percentage of stakeholders that
believed the recovery plan was well
planned and communicated
Stakeholder interview
questions 17 (council) 15 (Div
Comm) 18 (region); de-briefs;
DHHS reports
80% of stakeholders interviewed
believed that the social, economic
and environmental impacts were
rapidly assessed
All (100%) of stakeholder
interviewees believed the recovery
plan was well planned and
communicated
APPENDIX B – SAMPLE OF STAKEHOLDER
INTERVIEW QUESTIONS
2012 NORTH EAST FLOODS REVIEW
STAKEHOLDER INTERVIEW QUESTIONS - Regional
Date of interview:
Interviewee:
Organisation:
Interviewer:
Location:
1.What was your organisation’s role in the 2012 NE floods?
2.What was your role in the incident?
General approach
3.Was a seamless and integrated approach provided to the community by emergency
management organisations during the incident? Yes/no (reasons)
4.What could be improved to deliver a more seamless and integrated approach? (list ways)
Interoperability
5.Did you experience or do you know of any interoperable issues during the incident? Yes/No If
so, what were they? (list issues)
Preparedness
6.Prior to the flood, did the community, individuals, businesses and emergency management
organisations understand their roles in the event of a flood emergency? Yes/No (reasons)
Incident management
7.What plans/processes/protocols were in place to ensure the incident was well managed,
coordinated and communicated? Did these achieve the desired outcome? Yes/No (reasons)
8.What plans/processes/protocols were in place to ensure the appropriate local level of input was
taken into account? Did these achieve the desired outcome? Yes/No (reasons)
9.What plans/processes/protocols were in place to ensure there was a clear understanding of
roles and responsibilities during the incident between State, Region and Divisional Command?
Did these achieve the desired outcome? Yes/No (reasons)
10.What plans/processes/protocols were in place to ensure there were there timely and quality
decisions made at all levels? Did these achieve the desired outcome? Yes/No (reasons)
11.What plans/processes/protocols were in place to ensure that timely and relevant intelligence
was received that informed decision making and community information and warning
messages? Did these achieve the desired outcome? Yes/No (reasons)
12.Was the MEMP or any other relevant local plan activated during the incident? Yes/No
(reasons)
13.How could the management of the incident be improved? (list ways)
Capacity
14.How effectively were vulnerable people supported in the incident?
Support and essential services
15.Were people well informed about how to access support and essential services such as
shelter, food, water and medical care? Yes/No (reasons)
16.Was this provided in a timely way? Yes/No (reasons)
17.Did people continue to receive essential and critical services during the incident? Yes/No
(reasons)
Recovery planning
18.Were the social, economic and environmental impacts rapidly assessed to develop the
recovery plan? Yes/No (reasons)
THANK YOU FOR THE INTERVIEW
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