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Flood Risk Management Framework

Project Overview

Flooding is Queensland’s most damaging natural hazard, causing significant impacts on people’s health and wellbeing, the environment, property and infrastructure, and economic productivity. This is because many towns and cities, and the transport linkages connecting them are built on floodplains, usually for historical reasons of access to water for habitation, transportation and agriculture.

Awareness of flood risk and flood-responsive land-use planning practices are helping communities to improve their resilience to flood risk. On 27 March 2019 Council resolved to undertake a fit-for-purpose flood risk assessment for the region and identify consequential amendments to the Fraser Coast Planning Scheme 2014 in accordance with the State Planning Policy guidelines. The Flood Risk Management Framework (Planning) project will deliver on that resolution. Whilst a flood study will identify flood behaviour for a range of events, further analysis is necessary to assess the risk that the flood hazard poses to people, property and infrastructure.

Through this project, Council will deliver a fit-for-purpose framework for Council to undertake further flood catchment studies, flood risk assessments and a land use planning response to flood risk across the Fraser Coast Region. The Flood Risk Management Framework will provide:

    • A prioritised list of future catchment studies required for the region
    • The tools and parameters for future catchment studies;
    • Fit-for-purpose flood risk assessment of the region (and methodology for repeating the assessment as new flood studies are completed); and
    • Land use planning responses appropriate to flood risk in the Fraser Coast region.

As catchment studies are undertaken or revised over time, the created framework will allow Council to consistently update the flood risk assessments and mapping with the latest information.

The project seeks:

    • More ‘complete’ understanding of unmitigated flood risk through understanding flood behaviour and consequence beyond a single DFE such as the 1 in 100 AEP;
    • Evidence-based land use policy and scheme provisions informed by a risk assessment to achieve the requirements of Queensland’s State Planning Policy (SPP);
    • To evaluate flood risk and implications for land use in the context of other flood risk management measures, including planning land use controls;
    • Transparency in identifying risk in order to increase awareness of the location and extent of varying risk profiles;
    • Less reliance on ad-hoc responses and site based risk assessment at the development assessment stage; and
    • More nuanced land use policy and clear development expectations for each level of risk, providing greater certainty for community and development industry.

The following diagram illustrates the draft land use planning framework and outcomes sought by this project.

2010/11

Following the extensive 2010/11 Queensland flood events, the Queensland Government established the Queensland Flood Commission of Inquiry on 17 January 2011 to investigate matters relating to the floods. The Commission’s final findings were publically released in March 2012, which amongst many other things, recommended that flood risk mapping be enhanced across the state.

2017 to Early 2019

In response to the Commission’s recommendations, Council is committed to an ongoing program of works to:

  1. Improve the detail and accuracy of existing flood modelling; and
  2. Undertake flood modelling for areas which have no existing flood risk information.

During 2017 to 2018, Council with the assistance of specialist engineers, undertook a series of studies at six different riverine catchments across the region to both identify and refine flood hazard maps with the latest data and modelling techniques. At its Ordinary meeting on 27 March 2019, Council adopted the revised Flood Hazard Area and Defined Flood Levels created out of these studies. At its ordinary meeting on 28 August 2019, Council adopted the changes to the Fraser Coast Planning Scheme.

Mid 2019 to now

Following the earlier resolution of 27 March 2019, Council commenced the detailed scoping of the current Flood Risk Management Framework project.

The current approach to flood hazard taken under Council’s planning scheme is consistent with many other Queensland planning schemes developed prior to 2017 amendments to the State Planning Policy:

    • Flood hazard is mapped, with above the 1% AEP flood extent designated as ‘acceptable risk’ for development across the region;
    • The Flood Hazard Overlay Map is based on this, mapping the extent of one flood event (the 1% AEP) and does not show depth or velocity;
    • There is a strong reliance on Defined Flood Event (DFE) to ‘design out’ impacts at the development assessment stage;
    • The planning scheme provisions and mapping are informed by limited risk assessment and not by consideration of the implications of hydraulic behaviour of flood (or other flood risk factors) so there is limited upfront direction for development (with the exception of the limited development of constrained land zone);
    • Relies heavily on site-based risk assessment at development assessment stage to determine appropriate uses; and
    • In response, development tends to rely on one solution across floodplain: build above the DFE + freeboard (DFL).

The project will implement the policy objectives of the State Planning Policy (SPP) state interest policy for Natural hazards, risk and resilience (policy 1, policy 2 and policy 4-6) and will ensure that the Fraser Coast Planning Scheme provides effective planning responses to flood risk. Furthermore, the project is responsible for advancing the recommendation of the Flood Commission for local government to make available mapping relating to ‘zones of risk’ derived from information about the likelihood and behaviour of flooding.

  • March 2019 to Late 2019
    • Council resolution to undertake a fit-for-purpose flood risk assessment for the region and identify consequential amendments
    • Project scoping and engagement of specialist consultant
  • Late 2019 to Early 2020
    • Establishment of risk-based framework approach
    • Risk mapping outputs
    • Pilot catchment assessment
  • Early 2020 to Mid 2020
    • Review of flood-based Planning Scheme provisions
    • Drafting of Planning Scheme provisions incorporating risk-based approach
    • Assess areas of high-risk
  • June 2020 onwards
    • Delivery of final project reporting
    • Preparation of formal Planning Scheme amendments