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Covering the Central Highlands
Central West Queensland

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12 May, 2021

Flood discussion valuable for future

A discussion between Gemfields Residents and Central Highlands Regional Council was held last night, and proved valuable in preparing for future events.

Retreat Creek reached almost 10m high when flood waters swept through the district. PHOTO: Andrew Jeffrey

A LOCAL council was all ears when they held a community discussion yesterday about the devastating floods that swept through the Gemfields earlier this year.

The Central Highlands Regional Council spoke with 15 Gemfields residents – that consist of the Sapphire, Rubyvale and Anakie townships – to listen to their stories and learn more from their experiences in preparation for future incidents.

“The flooding event in March was unlike anything anyone had seen before, and the communities stories and insights will be a valuable source of information for our work dealing with flooding there, and across the region,” General Manager Communities John McDougall said.

“Reliving the event was no doubt a big ask for the community, but in doing so our staff have all taken on board the learnings, and we thank the Gemfields community for this.”

Rubyvale resident Kim Tompson, who is also a member of the Human and Social Recovery Group, said she thought it was a really positive meeting.

“The residents that came, I think we all felt it went really well,” she said.

“We were all given the chance to speak and everyone felt really comfortable in the space. I was impressed with how it was orchestrated. It was just about starting the conversation.”

Council will take the community’s insights from the conversation back to an internal group of technical and non-technical project managers for a debriefing on Monday next week.

The information will be used to inform a range of future council projects and works, with council teams back in the Gemfields community to continue the conversation around flood mitigation in just a few weeks.

“Council was grateful for the opportunity to speak with the community, and better understand more about what occurred, and how we can use that information to inform a broader suite of council work that will look at how we deal with flood, if and when it happens in the Gemfields,” Mr McDougall said.

If you or someone you know is in need of information or support, please contact the Emerald Neighbourhood Centreon (07) 4982 1696.

If you would like more information about how to deal with emergencies and natural hazards when they happen in your community, please visit council’s emergency management dashboard.

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