Flooding in the Fitzroy Valley just the beginning

Jan 3, 2023 | Neil Thomson MLC, State News

“This is an unprecedented flooding event and remote communities and pastoral stations downstream of Fitzroy Crossing should be taking heed of all warnings now”, said the Hon Neil Thomson MLC.

“I have been in constant contact with residents across the Fitzroy Valley who are deeply concerned about their homes, families and ongoing access to food supplies and the massive clean up process that will be needed in the coming weeks. So far dozens of homes and businesses have been flooded, some for the first time ever. My heart goes out to them.”

“The current challenges are likely to be compounded with Roebuck Plains, east of Broome, likely to be inundated over the next few days as the system moves further west. It is highly likely that the Great Northern Highway will be closed for weeks if not longer and that will place pressure on the provision of the basics in the Kimberley region,” said Mr Thomson.

Mr Thomson, a resident in Broome, continued, “we have lived through this before and there were major challenges with access to food and fuel right across the Kimberley.

“Further, the obvious damage to the Fitzroy River Bridge will impact heavily on the economy, social and cultural connections across our region with repairs potentially taking weeks if not months, said Mr Thomson.

“The Minister for Planning and Transport Rita Saffioti must focus on the resilience in our road network as these events are becoming more common as we see our climate change”, said Mr Thomson.

“Whilst cyclones create headlines, it is normally the flooding from ex-tropical cyclones or lows that do most of the damage in the Kimberley. These lows are often do not attract the same attention as cyclones and yet again this highlights the deficiencies the Opposition has been raising about the State’s preparedness with no response from the Government.”

“The first priority is dealing with the crisis, but as soon as that is complete, the State should do a road and logistics infrastructure audit and set aside significant funding to address issues which are unfolding with greater regularity,” said Mr Thomson.

“The Minister for Transport announced planning for upgrades for the Fitzroy River bridge in July 2021,” said Mr Thomson. “But that is now too late and urgent action will now be urgently required to reopen the only sealed road between Darwin and the Pilbara, said Mr Thomson.”

The Member for the Mining and Pastoral Region welcomed the State of Emergency for the Shires of Broome and Shire of Derby West Kimberley in response to the record flooding event which has inundation of many homes and businesses.