The Property Council of Australia has provided a submission to the Queensland Government’s Queensland Floods Inquiry.
After the natural disasters of early 2011 Queensland needs to recover, rebuild and reignite its economy. In its submission to the Queensland Floods Commission of Inquiry (QFCI), the Property Council has emphasised the need to reconstruct our communities with resilience, to restore investor confidence and to continue to invest in infrastructure.
The Property Council has sent a clear message that it would be concerned about any rezoning to sterilise land – the decision to develop should rest with the property or land owner. Similarly, already approved development projects should proceed at the land owner’s discretion and should be left to market forces. Any measures that would affect land use should focus on mitigation of possible flood impacts and not on sterilisation of flood prone areas. The Property Council has also noted that a variety of innovative, flood-resilient building designs - where habitable areas and rooms for electrical equipment are built above the defined flood level - are readily available.
Any mitigation measures prescribed to future development will add costs to the bottom line of projects and heighten affordability issues. It would be more cost effective to use Wivenhoe’s full mitigation capacity or install higher walls at Wivenhoe than to add additional costs onto every development project in a flood prone area. Any “flood proofing” of new developments will also have an effect on the existing built environment, which would mean higher levels of inundation for existing properties.
The Property Council has welcomed the introduction of an interim flood level by Brisbane City Council as it has provided clarity to the development sector. However, it will be important to understand what type of event we were faced with in January, and what the potential mitigation capacity of Wivenhoe is before we revert to a permanent Q2011 + 0.5. In particular, it will be important to establish what impact management of storage capacity immediately prior to and during the 2011 flood event had on the 2011 flood level.
The significant recovery underway presents a unique and strategic opportunity to rebuild our communities with enhanced sustainability and resilience. The Property Council supports the work of Green Cross Australia and is aware of the opportunities presented by the Green Cross “Build it Back Green” initiative and has commended it to the QFCI.
Engagement with the private sector, and especially the property industry, will be critical as we face the challenge of rebuilding Queensland - to ensure that measures and policies are workable and will provide good community outcomes.