Locals are being asked to think back to a time when the Murray or the Little Murray was in flood and to share their knowledge, experiences and photos.
Council is working with the State Government, SES and local Catchment Management Authorities to create the Swan Hill Regional Flood Study. It will be used to plan for future flood responses and for land use planning along the two rivers.
It will focus on three key areas – around Pental Island, from Swan Hill to Nyah-Vinifera Park, and from Nyah to Piangil (Tooleybuc).
Community sessions to gather local knowledge are planned for this Sunday and Monday – Swan Hill Region Information Centre, Sunday 2pm-4pm; Lake Boga Flying Boat Museum, Monday 1pm-3pm; and Tooleybuc Sporting Club, Monday 5pm-7pm. Call in at any stage of the session.
I encourage local people to get involved – you are the people who have experienced previous flooding events, who have lived through them, and who can provide the invaluable information we need to make this study as accurate and effective as possible.
Councils joining forces
We were proud to be part of the Murray River Group of Councils’ (MRGC) recent research project, looking at the personal cost and impacts of the Murray Darling Basin Plan.
It involved interviewing people from across northern Victoria – places like Swan Hill, Mildura, Kerang and Cohuna. It included irrigators, water brokers, business operators, rural financial counsellors and family support services.
It is just one tool that the Group has used to lobby ministers and the Murray Darling Basin Authority to listen to our communities as they make decisions about the future of the Plan.
You can see a video produced as part of the MRGC research, and read all the details, at Council’s website. The group includes the Swan Hill, Mildura, Gannawarra, Loddon, Campaspe and Moira councils.
This team approach is a good demonstration of how councils working together can have a much greater impact than going it alone. Similarly, we are working with six neighbouring councils to submit a major funding application to the Federal Government for projects right along our local rivers. Once again, pooling our resources and efforts will allow us to take part in this grant scheme, but acting solo would not.
On Monday, the Welcome Scroll visited our region. It is a six-metre long scroll signed by 113 Refugee Welcome Zone councils, including ours. My signature on the scroll is a symbol of our region’s commitment to welcoming refugees, and more broadly to diversity and multiculturalism.
It was a timely visit, with this week also being Refugee Week. Refugee Week recognises the people who have come to Australia under the government’s Humanitarian Program, who enrich our society and strengthen our economy. This is especially the case in rural and regional Australia.
I know we have several community and volunteer groups across the municipality who are dedicated to welcoming and recognising refugees and other migrants all year around, and so this week is a chance to thank them too.