A Collaborative Effort in Regional Response and Recovery: Innovative Ways to Manage Extreme Flooding in Rockhampton
The Rockhampton region is a major economic and lifestyle hub for Central Queensland. In 2010/2011, the region experienced a series of extreme flood events, including the fourth largest river rise recorded in history. Whilst the Rockhampton region is familiar with flooding, having experienced many in its history, the 2010/2011 event was particularly challenging in light of its severity and periodicity, especially the impact on the region’s broken transport links with the rest of the state. For an extended time, the city of Rockhampton was inaccessible by rail and air, and was only accessible by road from the north. The following narrative illustrates the ability of the Rockhampton region to ‘connect and collaborate’ – that is, to innovate – across the range of organisations, services and functions required to respond to this natural disaster. It also highlights the ‘regional advantage’ in coping with natural disasters and adapting to climate change. Here, regions can use their naturally strong social linkages to facilitate rapid information-sharing and formulate truly collaborative, community-level responses to extreme weather events, despite the challenges of a low resource base and a large geographic spread. Finally, it demonstrates the critical need for regional economies to innovate in order to recover from the direct and indirect costs of natural disasters. In Rockhampton, this has been achieved through a post-flood ‘Regional Investment Brief’: this is designed to attract new private and public investment, which can be used to ensure the region continues on its pre-flood trajectory of being a significant economic contributor to Queensland and the nation.
KeywordsFlood Water Flood Peak National Highway Flood Impact Community Recovery
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