Urban Floodplain Land-use – Acceptable Hazard? : A Case Study of Flood Risk Perception on the Guragunbah Floodplain (Nerang River System), Gold Coast

Godber, Allison M. (2002) Urban Floodplain Land-use – Acceptable Hazard? : A Case Study of Flood Risk Perception on the Guragunbah Floodplain (Nerang River System), Gold Coast. In QUT Centre for Social Change Research Conference: Social Change in the 21st Century, 27th October, QUT, Brisbane.


Floodplain management in Queensland has traditionally been the responsibility of individual local government areas. The minimal state and federal government involvement has lead to a wide variety of responses at the local government level, from basic acknowledgement through to award winning management strategies. In the last seven years, more guidance has come from higher levels of government in the form of the Australian/ New Zealand Standard ‘Risk Management Framework’ (AS/NZS 4360 1995), adopted in 1995 (Salter, 1996, 1997; Angus, 1997, 1998; Standards Australia, 1999), and the Australian National Floodplain Management Guidelines, adopted in 1996 (SCARM, 2000). Both frameworks, which can be adopted by individual local government areas, prescribe processes by which risks should be identified, assessed and treated within a community and legislative environment.

In Queensland today, there are attempts underway to formally draft a state planning policy specifically related to land-use within hazardous areas, such as on floodplains/ flood affected land. In an attempt to reduce the levels of community vulnerability to flooding and assist local governments that may have not yet have had the financial opportunities to assess their own levels of flood exposure and community perception, it has been suggested that a base design flood level (acceptable flood risk) be defined within the policy. It is anticipated that this level, currently proposed as the 1 in 100 year flood event, be adopted as the design standard unless individual local governments can prove another level is suitable through detailed flood risk analysis and mapping that also includes a community vulnerability assessment and consultation process (Personal Interview with Queensland Department of Emergency Services Representative, 18 April 2002). The 1 in 100-year flood event is already the design standard adopted by many local governments throughout the State, as well as internationally – but who decides this level is acceptable and how does it compare with other stakeholders definitions of acceptable flood risk? And do the stakeholders really understand what this flood risk benchmark represents? This project seeks to answer the following questions: 1. Does a generally accepted level of flood risk exist for the urban floodplain or do variations exist in the way in which the stakeholders perceive risk? 2. What effect do/ may any differences in acceptability have on community vulnerability? 3. Can the decision-makers within the local government justify the level of risk acceptability they set or are they being too restrictive or relaxed when it comes to acceptable land-use? 4. And are the stakeholders making land-use decisions based on a level of risk and associated consequences they understand and accept?

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ID Code: 476
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Floods, land use, acceptable risk, risk perception
ISBN: 1741070031
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY (160000) > HUMAN GEOGRAPHY (160400)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > AGRICULTURAL AND VETERINARY SCIENCES (070000) > AGRICULTURE LAND AND FARM MANAGEMENT (070100) > Sustainable Agricultural Development (070108)
Divisions: Past > Research Centres > Centre for Social Change Research
Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > QUT Carseldine - Humanities & Human Services
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2002 Allison M. Godber
Deposited On: 15 Oct 2004 00:00
Last Modified: 02 Feb 2012 09:44

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