By ERWIN CHLANDA
Chief Minister Adam Giles has announced the NT Government will commit $50 million to flood mitigation works in Rapid Creek, Katherine and Darwin’s Rural Area if a decision is made to change the ownership of TIO, but he has announced nothing about Alice Springs.
Much of the town is on a flood plain and floods have caused the loss of life and millions of dollars worth of damage.
The construction of a flood mitigation dam across the Todd was subject to a Federal moratorium over sacred sites but that has now expired.
It is clear that climate change will make flood events more serious and and frequent.
Under the heading “Minimising flood risk to keep premiums down” Mr Giles announced today that “the Government is determined to see that some of the proceeds from any change of TIO ownership go towards reducing the flood risk and premium hikes faced by Territorians.
“The reality is that some customers in high-risk areas are already facing large premium price rises next year under the current TIO ownership.
“TIO is already moving to a system where they calculate risk for each individual property instead of averaging it across a whole community.
“Next year, this could mean large price hikes in high-risk areas such as Katherine and Rapid Creek and I know Territorians in these areas want us to do something about it.
“This is expensive work that no Government has ever been willing to do before. A change of TIO ownership would make it possible.”
A pool of $25 million would be set aside for works in Rapid Creek and the Darwin Rural Area, while another $25 million would be allocated to Katherine, says Mr Giles.
The $25 million for Katherine includes $7.6 million to move Katherine’s Ambulance Centre out of the flood zone. Options are being considered to improve the flood resilience of other Katherine emergency services.
Two new Flood Mitigation Advisory Committees would guide this work – one in Rapid Creek and the Rural Area, and the other in Katherine.
Alice Springs does not rate a mention in the release. Mr Giles’ media staff did not respond to an enquiry on the issue.
UPDATE: Mr Giles released the following statement at 6pm on November 21: “The Territory Government has prepared TIO asset realisation investment strategies right across the Territory, including Alice Springs, which if TIO were to change hands, would be announced at a later date.”
By ERWIN CHLANDA