Australian Government: Attorney-General's Department - Emergency Management in Australia

Managing the floodplain - a guide to best practice in flood risk management in Australia - Handbook 7

Publication code: HB7-2ND

Flooding is a natural phenomenon that occurs when water covers land that is usually dry. Floods can have a devastating impact upon communities.

Effective flood risk management can enable a community to become as resilient as 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.

Please note supporting documents providing guidelines and a project brief template accompany this handbook. Please login to view and download the documents.