The corner of Tallarook and Station streets in Seymour were totally underwater last year, causing extensive flooding to businesses. Photo: Sean Bottling

Communities across Victoria will be able to have their voices heard through a state-wide inquiry into the state’s preparedness and response to last year’s floods.

The State Government’s Environment and Planning Committee will report on the preparedness and response to the October 2022 floods.

Member for Euroa Annabelle Cleeland said the flood inquiry would have a broad remit.

“We’ve been able to establish this crucial inquiry which will look into causes and contributions to the floods and early warning systems,” she said.

“While towns like Murchison were able to plan for the rising Goulburn, in Seymour people were left with little warning time to prepare and evacuate.

“It’s evident there were serious issues with warning systems and projections.

“It’s critically important we also gain a better understanding of decisions around water catchment management and improve both decision making and communication processes.”

The inquiry will also investigate the ‘location, funding, maintenance and effectiveness of engineered structures, such as flood walls, rural levees and culverts, as a flood mitigation strategy.’

“With the evidence pointing towards flooding like this becoming more likely and variable, flood mitigation infrastructure is essential,” Ms Cleeland said.

“So many of our towns including Murchison, Seymour and Heathcote already have incredibly unaffordable flood insurance premiums.

“The October floods will only bump up these premiums further – the only way to bring these down is to look at what can be done to mitigate flooding and protect our towns.”

As the inquiry is established, more information will become publicly available.

“Local businesses need to be able to look to the future with confidence. This inquiry is essential – ensuring we learn from past mistakes and put plans in place for the future,” Ms Cleeland said.