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Community calls for flood levee to be delivered

Residents want flood levee delivered

Flood levee
Calls have been made for state political parties and election candidates to deliver the proposed Bundaberg East flood levee.

Seven years on from the devastating 2013 flood, calls have reignited in the community for the Bundaberg East Levee to be delivered.

The levee is featured in the Bundaberg Regional Council 2020 Advocacy Priorities document, which seeks support from all political parties and candidates to implement the 10-year Flood Action Plan.

Following extensive community consultation and design work in 2013, the Bundaberg East Levee was added to the State Government’s flood action plan at an estimated cost of $80 million.

Rowan Bond headed the Community Reference Group (CRG) formed to provide feedback and advice from residents to Council and the State Government.

It’s been seven years since the group delivered its recommendations.

Rowan has been left frustrated by the delay in building the flood levee, which he believes provides the highest cost benefit of any flood mitigation measure.

“It’s been through a number of fact checks, so to speak, by expert groups engaged by the State Government,” Rowan said.

“Basically, with minor comments, the CRG’s position on what should be done has been vindicated.

“As far as the CRG goes we really just don’t understand, what is the hold up?

“It’s about time that they stop putting pen to paper and someone actually picks up a shovel and starts doing it.”

Rowan said he and other CRG members put in a lot of work following the floods under the assumption that the work would be carried out “pretty well straight away”.

“It’s not that nothing has been done but nothing in that particular area has been done,” he said.

“The most important one is still waiting in the wings.

“It’s a pretty important project, particularly for the CBD. Nothing that’s happened since has taken it from the top of the list.”

If the Bundaberg East Levee was delivered, East Bundaberg Sports Club freehold property owner Kelvin McIntyre believes many businesspeople, himself included, would invest more money in the region.

“I know with the sports club we would inject a couple of million dollars into the freehold property if it was protected; a major redevelopment of the club,” Kelvin said.

“Then you’ve got protection and you’re not worried about flood insurance as well.

“I think there would be a lot of other people in that same headset.”

The 2013 flood sent eight feet of water through his property, taking 18 months to repair.

That meant a loss of income and reduced fundraising opportunities for the junior and senior rugby league teams and the bowls club.

“It caused astronomical damage,” Kelvin said.

“It’s not only East Bundaberg [the flood levee would benefit] it’s Targo Street, The Melbourne Hotel; it just protects a lot of freehold property.

“Without a doubt it would give the biggest bang for buck … it would give a lot of people confidence going forward.”

The Bundaberg East Levee would also provide flood protection to Meals on Wheels which was basically “wiped out” in 2013 according to president Jeff McColl.

“The flood level was probably around windowsill height,” Jeff said.

“We had to replace all cold rooms, freezers, all the rest of it.”

The group rallied and only missed one day of deliveries through it all but nonetheless Jeff’s in no rush to relive a similar event and said the Bundaberg East Levee would be valuable.

“It would certainly be of benefit there is no question about that.”



  1. Standard practice for pollies at all levels. Just look at the promises we are getting in this election period. Promise the world, then string it out on feasibility reviews and consultant reports. Never actually do anything.
    I remember working and being rewarded for actually producing something or doing what I was employed for…..

  2. While it is important to protect businesses and residences from future flooding why would we spend $80 million on an East levee to protect less than 10% of the people impacted in the 2013 flood.
    This Levee and associated flood gates would also have a significant ongoing maintenance cost which ratepayers would have to burden.
    There were only just over 280 people who participated at 10 Community Information Sessions after the flood and it would be interesting to know just how many were fully informed of the proposed levee impacts and how many were in favour of its construction. There definitely needs to be more awareness and consultation before this levee proposal proceeds.
    For a little more expense, we could create a Burnett River flood bypass channel to protect North, South and East Bundaberg as well as the CBD. If the water doesn’t reach here it can’t rise. It is that simple.
    Some representatives of the anti-East levee met with the Minister Mr. Stirling Hinchcliffe here in Bundaberg in March 2019 and enlightened him with the shortcomings of such a wall and how it was really only a band aid solution which would protect and please less than 600 residences and a few select businesses. There were over 4,000 homes inundated and 7,000 people evacuated in 2013.
    After hearing our concerns Mr Hinchcliffe reminded the meeting that the East Levee was only one of the four main proposals currently under consideration.
    Let’s hope that the Council, State and Federal Governments don’t let their political ambitions prevent common sense from influencing the outcome of this very important decision for our region.
    If adequate funds are not readily available for a better solution, then let’s wait until they are. We need to get it right and get real value for money by floodproofing Bundaberg into the future. The economic benefits would be enormous.

  3. I am sure that the residents of North Bundaberg (who were by far the most severely impacted in 2013) will not be happy with the East Bundaberg levy (which will push more water their way).

    An improved evacuation route is not what they would consider to be a satisfactory solution to their flooding problems.

    Heaven help North Bundaberg in the next flood because the East levee won’t.

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