As the flood waters started to ease and a stocktake started on the damage caused by ex-cyclone Oswell that travelled down near the entire length of the Queensland coastline and well into New South Wales, two regular print columnists published articles on the 31st January calling a visionary and practical approach of looking to how we can reduce the impact of natural disasters in the future.
Andrew Bolt wrote an article, Nation must learn from natural disasters, where he concentrates on towns and cities that flood regularly, where a lot of money is spent of repairing after a flood and helping people to get back on their feet but little spend on prevention measures such as levy banks.
Personally I don’t believe that all can be solved by levies or dykes as in Bolts nation of origin, Holland. Historically towns had to build down close to a major source of water; these days we have the means of moving the water to the houses. I don’t believe that in locations of high flood risk that sometimes the cost of constructing a big enough levies for the worst of floods would be far greater than shifting the people out of the worst impacted streets.
Senator Barnaby Joyce wrote in his weekly column in The Canberra Times, Acts ofGod, but not much remedial action in Parliament, where he made some very good points about Australia’s transport and communication networks and their current inability to cope with natural disasters.
Cartoon thanks to Broelmann
"The major infrastructure corridors along the coast are again under pressure or cut. The Telstra fibre providing the communication link for north Queensland was cut because of flooding.
The justifiable focus on the current problem of flooding should be accompanied by a long-term solution to alleviate some of the problem.
The course of innovation is not lineal, it is more chaotic, but in the period of this government there has been no plan that has dealt with the year-in, year-out problems of floods, congestion and safety of moving goods along the same corridor as people, along the coast. It should not be a surprise any more that somewhere between Cairns and Melbourne at some point in summer there will be a flood, and generally at many points along the coast.We need an educational system that does not leave Australia falling behind our Asian neighbours. More than two sealed roads from east to west across our nation would be very 21st century if we could manage it. We should plan to develop our nation's north so we evolve from the southern crescent economy of Lachlan Macquarie's day to one that can make the most of Asian middle class opportunities. The capacity to move product on long haul rail from our second biggest city, Melbourne, direct to our nation's third biggest, Brisbane, should have happened years ago"