Wednesday, 22 February 2023

Questions without notice and ministers statements

Maribyrnong River flood review

David DAVIS, Harriet SHING

Maribyrnong River flood review

David DAVIS (Southern Metropolitan) (12:24): (47) My question is again for the Minister for Water. Minister, can you advise if Melbourne Water or their contractors have surveyed the floor levels of the 47 residences at the Rivervue Retirement Village flooded on 14 October 2022 during the Maribyrnong flood?

Harriet SHING (Eastern Victoria – Minister for Water, Minister for Regional Development, Minister for Commonwealth Games Legacy, Minister for Equality) (12:25): Thanks, Mr Davis, for that question. Melbourne Water has undertaken a significant body of work with customers and residents following the flood events of last October. That is not only part of the flood response but also part of the business-as-usual engagement that occurs with residents and account holders not just within Melbourne Water’s boundaries but also more broadly across the state. This is work that includes assessments, and it also includes work that is about understanding the impact of various matters around inundation, whether they are occasioned through flooding or through burst drains, mains or other situations whereby water causes damage or impact of any nature. I am speaking in the general here, and the reason I am doing that, Mr Davis, is that I would hate for you to conclude that I am making a comment on Melbourne Water’s review and I would hate for that to be a basis upon which you seek to gain a commentary from me about Melbourne Water’s review.

Mr Davis, these are operational matters that Melbourne Water takes on as part of making sure that account holders and residents are given the service and the attention that they need. Mr Davis, this is work, as I indicated, that happens across the state. It is also work that has been occurring through authorities and local governments and indeed CMAs as a consequence of flooding all over Victoria. So the assessments continue through business as usual and through a major event response with Melbourne Water as they do with all other authorities and CMAs in this situation.

David DAVIS (Southern Metropolitan) (12:27): I note the minister did not actually answer the simple question, but let me start with a supplementary. I did listen to your answer very closely, and I wrote down notes about it – ‘business as usual’, ‘a significant body of work’ and all of this – but the question is about a very specific property. Minister, why has Melbourne Water not made information on the surveyed floor levels available to flood victims, some of whom requested this information over three months ago and are now being forced to engage private surveyors at a cost of more than $700 per flood level?

Harriet SHING (Eastern Victoria – Minister for Water, Minister for Regional Development, Minister for Commonwealth Games Legacy, Minister for Equality) (12:28): Thank you, Mr Davis, for that supplementary question. Again with your preamble you presuppose that I have not answered a question when in fact you just do not seem to like the answer that I have given. As part of assessments as business as usual and post-event assessments, Melbourne Water and others undertake that work and they undertake it directly with households and account holders who have been impacted or require assistance. Mr Davis, I do not have the information that you are requesting in relation to additional information about the engagement of surveyors. That is again an operational matter, and without wanting, as I have said before, to traverse the detail of matters subject to a review by Melbourne Water, I am very happy to see what detail I can source and can provide to you around those matters.