A guide for people responsible for the management of our floodplains

Managing the Floodplain

Effective flood risk management can enable a community to become as resilient as is practicable to floods. This is achieved through planning and preparing for, responding to and recovering from flooding. This requires a coordinated, multidisciplinary approach across all levels of government and between agencies with different responsibilities. It also requires the support of a range of non-government organisations and industry professionals in a wide range of activities and fields (such as land-use planning), and the active engagement of the community.

The goal of increased resilience to floods requires the management of the flood impacts on both existing developed areas of the community and areas that may be developed in the future. Generally, this involves a combination of flood mitigation, emergency management, flood forecasting and warning measures, land-use planning, and infrastructure design considering the local flood situation and the associated hazards. Decision makers in these areas, insurers and the general public require access to information on flood risk to make informed management and investment decisions.

The National Strategy for Disaster Resilience, adopted by the Council of Australian Governments on 13 February 2011 (COAG 2011), outlines the increasing regularity and severity of natural disasters. Australian governments recognised that a national coordinated and cooperative effort is required to enhance Australia’s capacity to withstand and recover from emergencies and disasters. A disaster resilient community is one that works together to understand and manage the risks that it confronts. Disaster resilience is the collective responsibility of all sectors of society, including all levels of government, business, the non-government sector and individuals. If all these sectors work together with a united focus and a shared sense of responsibility to improve disaster resilience, they will be far more effective than the individual efforts of any one sector.

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User Guide

Handbook 7 is supported by a range of technical guidance and other material as outlined to the right.

Handbook 7 should be used in consultation with the relevant jurisdictional agencies. Jurisdictions may have their own specific guidance and documentation which may refer to or be consistent with the best practice guidance provided in this handbook and supporting documents. Jurisdictional advice may include administrative guidance that outlines the relevant jurisdictional: legislative and policy framework; governance arrangements; documentation that supports best practice; terms used that differ from Handbook 7; and the jurisdictional support available to floodplain management entities (government entities with primary responsibility for managing flooding in an area) to assist them in understanding and managing their flood risk.

At the floodplain specific or study scale, having processes and practices consistent with Handbook 7 and relevant guidelines, can help to ensure that studies completed consider best practice guidance.