Toowoomba Regional Council has endorsed a motion calling for state and federal funds to help Council reconstruct more resilient assets, including upgrades to the Wivenhoe Pump Station, following severe flooding in the region.

Toowoomba Region Mayor, Paul Antonio, said Council would advocate for Betterment program funding to rebuild public assets to a more resilient standard to withstand the effects of inevitable future natural disasters.

“Council will submit an initial list of projects to the Federal and State Governments for Betterment funding consideration,” Mr Antonio said.

Among the list of projects were a suggested upgrade and relocation of the Wivenhoe Pump Station and a review of sewerage inundation across the region’s network.

“While Council is assessing the extent of damage to public infrastructure following heavy rain and extensive flooding in late February 2022, it is clear we, like other local authorities, will need external funding to complete our region’s recovery works,” Mr Antonio said.

“Council is determined to continue improving flood immunity across the region.

“The situation also highlights why Council fully supports the Australian Local Government Association’s campaign calling for a fixed one per cent share of Commonwealth tax revenue to aid local authorities’ long-term financial planning to service our growing region with essential infrastructure.”

TRC Infrastructure Services Committee Chair Councillor, Carol Taylor, said gaining access to Betterment funds would help Council reduce the social and economic costs of flooding and storm disasters to the community.

“The Betterment program specifically allows roads and other infrastructure to be built to a more flood resilient standard,” Ms Taylor said.

“Council is committed to improving the community’s ability to prepare and respond to future flooding and do what is necessary to create a safer, stronger and more resilient region, however we need funding support to complete this extensive restoration work.

“There is widespread damage across the Toowoomba Region road network with around 20 roads still closed after the event, with numerous roads damaged, but which are trafficable with care.

“Funding assistance will help improve not only flood resilience, but road safety and connectivity, especially for rural producers and transport operators.

“Following the 2010/2011 record flood events, Council undertook the largest flood recovery program the region has seen. This program was interrupted by further flooding in early 2013 and in 2015. The region has also experienced further flood events in 2018, 2020 and late last year.

“While the 2010/11 repairs and flood mitigation engineering were expensive, most of the funding was drawn from Federal and State Government support, and the works have been designed to protect Toowoomba Region residents for generations.

“Council has been working on a range of complementary projects covering land use planning, flood studies and mapping, overland flow mapping and emergency management planning.

“Council’s top priority is to improve public safety and upgrade our flood immunity and our awareness about preparing residents for inevitable future events.

“Recent heavy rain events in Toowoomba showed that the various projects were working to do exactly what they were designed to achieve by keeping the creeks generally flowing in their respective channels.

“While we can’t completely safeguard against extreme weather events, I’m confident that the region has vastly improved infrastructure that will offer greater resilience to withstand future flooding and mitigate flood impacts.”

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