Greens introduce motion for Maribyrnong flood inquiry, release terms of reference


The Victorian Greens will today introduce a motion calling for the establishment of a parliamentary inquiry into last year’s Maribyrnong River floods.

The Greens say their inquiry would help close the gaps left open by the current Melbourne Water review, which they say is too narrow in scope and has left the affected communities deeply disappointed.

The Greens’ proposed inquiry would investigate:

  • The flooding of the urban catchment of the Maribyrnong River with a focus on —
    • Whether the Flemington Racecourse flood wall exacerbated flood impacts in surrounding areas;
    • The 2007 decision of the Minister for Planning to approve the construction of a flood wall around Flemington Racecourse, including the influence of the Victorian Racing Club on the decision and whether the growing impacts of climate change were considered;
    • The effectiveness of early warning systems for the people living and working in the flood areas;
  • The effectiveness of Victoria’s planning system in respect to mitigating the impacts of climate change and how corporate interests can influence decision-making at the expense of communities and climate change preparedness;
  • How Victoria can better protect lives, livelihoods and homes during climate disasters including —
    • Whether the State Emergency Service has sufficient resources to deal with increasing extreme weather events;
    • Whether early warning systems are adequate; and
    • Whether flood mitigation and recovery systems are adequate.

Deputy Leader of the Victorian Greens, Ellen Sandell, said Melbourne Water’s limited review was convenient for the Labor Government who wanted to avoid blame or criticism, but that the community deserved a proper inquiry.

She said if passed, the Greens’ proposed inquiry would be undertaken by the Legislative Council Environment and Planning Committee.

Quotes attributable to Deputy Leader of the Victorian Greens, Ellen Sandell MP:

“Last year areas of Kensington and Maribyrnong were under metres of water while the Flemington Racecourse was kept dry by a flood wall, approved by a Labor Government at the expense of the community.

“The flood wall around the dry racecourse, while homes went under water, demonstrates very clearly who the government is willing to protect and who gets left behind when it comes to climate change. 

“This kind of thing can’t be allowed to continue, and the community are rightly outraged that the Labor Government seems to want to sweep important questions about the flood under the carpet.

“We urgently need a broader-ranging inquiry into these floods to explore why the flood wall was built in the first place, why early warning systems didn’t work, and how we can better protect homes and lives during climate disasters, not just vested interests. Governments must do better when it comes to increasingly frequent climate disasters.”