Flood review praises council response, identifies opportunities for improvement

09 December 2022

A comprehensive review of Ipswich City Council’s response to devastating flooding earlier this year has praised response and recovery efforts and made 47 recommendations for further improvements.

The February-March 2022 Ipswich Flood Review found council has the necessary organisational structures, resources, documents and processes in place to effectively manage disasters.

Its 47 recommendations range across strategic and operational areas to further enhance the council’s response capability.

Local Disaster Management Group Chair Ipswich Mayor Teresa Harding said the motivation for her Mayoral Minute which prompted the flood review was to ensure council was always improving its disaster response.

“Council takes its role as the lead agency in Ipswich for disaster response and recovery coordination very seriously and will address each of the recommendations with due consideration,” Mayor Harding said.

“The February-March 2022 Flood Review is a further demonstration of council’s commitment to continuous improvement and transparency.

“The findings of the council-initiated review echo that of the Inspector-General of Emergency Management’s South East Queensland Rainfall and Flooding February to March 2022 Review which twice called out the effectiveness of Ipswich City Council’s disaster response and recovery efforts.

“This is a credit to the extensive work council has undertaken in recent years, in collaboration with key local disaster response agencies and the wider Ipswich community, to promote disaster preparedness and resilience.

“Unfortunately, our city is no stranger to natural disasters and we know Ipswich has a high flood risk and that severe flooding will occur again.

“To give our community the best chance of weathering future disasters, we must always reflect on and improve our disaster response and recovery capability.”

The February-March 2022 Flood Review was conducted for council by independent resilience experts Phoenix Resilience and included an analysis and review of more than 740 documents and more than 50 websites as well as four community listening tour debrief sessions where residents shared their experiences.

Local Disaster Management Group Deputy Chairperson Councillor Kate Kunzelmann said the review’s recommendations included areas related to training, technology and process improvements.

“They provide a focus for council to further enhance its disaster preparedness activities and now the report has been delivered, each recommendation will be systematically considered and addressed with appropriate action,” Cr Kunzelmann said.

“The review captured the lessons from the 2022 flood response to inform initiatives that will improve outcomes and minimise adverse disaster consequences for the Ipswich community, economy, environment and infrastructure.

“Council appreciates the way in which flood affected residents came forward to share their experience. We have been given insights into personal experience that is so valuable and gives shape to future actions.”

Local Disaster Management Group Deputy Chairperson Councillor Russell Milligan thanked the community for its participation in the flood review.

“Just as it is critical for council to be well prepared with its disaster response and recovery, it is also important that each and every Ipswich resident do their bit,” Cr Milligan said.

“By working together before a disaster strikes, our city can recover more quickly when a disaster occurs.

“As part of the review, listening tour sessions to gather community feedback were held at Rosewood, East Ipswich, Goodna and Karalee.

“This community participation was invaluable in gathering first-hand accounts of how council’s response was felt by the community, and to provide a clear focus for what works and how we can improve our disaster response.”

The February-March 2022 Flood Review reports are available at Shapeyouripswich.com.au

Ipswich City Council provides a range of disaster preparedness resources for residents at online at Ipswich.qld.gov.au/services/emergency_management