by Viv Forbes, a geologist and farmer living on a farm in the rain-soaked Bremer River valley. He lived in Brisbane in 1974 and helped friends clean up in Graceville and, as a school boy, joined Warwick volunteers who helped to clean up flooded Inglewood in the 1950’s.
There is a growing chorus seeking to ban building on flood prone land.
Many settlements started near a permanent water supply on good alluvial soils, often at places where pioneer tracks crossed rivers or where pioneering ships berthed in river estuaries.
All such land is likely to be flood prone. It is not “certain” to flood in any particular year — it is “certain” to flood some time.
Similar water risks go far beyond flood plain inundation and include events such as flash flood, tsunami, tidal surge, dam failure, land slip, mud slide, wave erosion, storm damage, avalanches and advancing glaciers; even rising sea levels if you live as long as Methuselah. Will we also ban development on all of this land?
There is some risk associated with every block of land and the risk varies from place to place.
Some land brings higher risks from lack of water such as drought, bush fires and sand storms; or is located in unstable places where earth tantrums bring volcanic eruptions, earth-quakes, fault movements or subsidence.
Then there is property threatened by noxious neighbours such as wind towers, old mine workings or risky dam developments.
Someone could probably develop a “ban building” case for every bit of land on earth.
Whether he knows it or not, every land occupier assumes the various risks associated with that land. He should be free to do so. The price paid for the land generally reflects these risks and it is the responsibility of buyers and their advisers to enquire about flood and other risks.
But other people should not be forced to share that risk. Risk sharing should be a matter of free choice between every owner and his chosen insurer, even if that is “self insurance”. Insurance contracts should be clear and not deceptive and contracts should be enforced, but insurers and property owners should be free to decide all matters regarding insurance.
The worst risk to all landowners is government action. These include blanket bans involving Wild Rivers, Strategic Cropping land, parks, World Heritage, reservations, wildlife corridors, vegetation bans, green bans, resumptions, rezoning, interference and confiscations. These seizures are generally un-insurable, un-predictable, un-appealable and un-compensated.
What should governments do?
Governments should publish clear flood plans and make sure they are readily available.
Every landowner seeking building approvals must be advised clearly of the flood history of that land.
In national disasters the most useful things they can do is get roads, water, power and airfields working as soon as possible, and clean up all rubbish on streets. Use of defence forces and equipment is sensible – taxpayers are paying for them no matter what they do and much of disaster work gives them real experience at logistics and management in difficult situations.
But no bans.
If we had banned development on “flood prone” or “high risk” areas half of Australia would be given back to the bush.
- Lang Hancock's Five Point Plan to Cripple Australia
- Put Windmills in National Parks
- Magnifying National Disasters
- Please Don't Feed the Animals
- Buy Birdsville Made?
- The Economics of Flood Risk
- Touring Bureaucrats
- Our slip-shod laws to blame
- Why Wind Won't Work
- A Profusion of "Prices"
- R.I.P. Ron Kitching - pioneer, explorer, author, family man, entrepreneur, scholar
- The Carbon Pollution Lie
- Closing Down Australia
- The Anti-Industry
- The Pyramid Builders
- Carbon Tax Bribery
- Crown Monopolies
- Carbon Tax Job Losses
- What Next, a Tax on Water?
- Carbon Health Warnings Coming Soon
- Growth Mythology
- The Tax Collection Industry
- Propaganda Puts Paid to Proof
- The Milk of the Welfare Teat is Watered Down
- "Crops for Cars" as Bad as Everlasting Drought
- Poll speech sets record
- The Emissions Trading Casino
- The Contract Society
- A Model Ministry
- The Five Point Plan to kill the economy with High Cost Electricity
- Put a Sunset Clause in the Carbon Tax
- Stuck on Red
- Time to Butcher "Aussie Beef"
- Carbon Tax Lies and Bribes
- The Middle of the Road
- United against taxes
- Call for Govt administrator
- Property & Prosperity
- "The Science is Settled" BUT Durban Climate Summit Not Cancelled
- No End to Fuelish Policies?
- The Right to Discriminate
- Sell the CES
- Free Water Costs Too Dam Much
- Creating Unemployment
- Viv Forbes Wins 1986 Adam Smith Award
- 1985 news item on Tax Payers United, Centre 2000 and the Australian Adam Smith Club
- Having the numbers is not the same as having the truth
- Who's Who in the Workers Party
- David Russell Leads 1975 Workers Party Queensland Senate Team
- Caught in a welfare whirlpool
- Global Warming Season
- Mining in Queensland, Past, Present and Future
- WEATHER IS USUALLY UNUSUAL
- Political branch formed
- Ron Manners on the Workers Party
- Viv Forbes on Libertarian Strategy and the Constant Resources Myth
- The New Brisbane Line?
- Carbon Lies
- We Mine to Live
- Save the taxpayer
- Solving Three Canberra Problems
- Vested Interests in the Climate Debate
- Carbon Tax Retrospective?
- Carbon Price Propaganda Taxes the Truth
- Don't Burn Food for Motor Spirit - Feed People not Cars
- Two Big Climate Taxes
- Greens Rediscover Hydrogen Car
- Atlas of Australia
- Shutting Out The Sun
- Safety Mania
- Coal - Sinking in the Swamps
- Hobbling the Competition
- Cubic Currency Coming
- "Dear Government"
- Viv Forbes mocks Flannery in 1988
- What we have is not a drug problem but a drug law problem
- Smoking, Health and Freedom
- Privatise Now! while they are still worth something
- The Electoral Act should allow voters to choose "none of the above"
- The New Federalism
- Sunset for Solar Subsidies
- The mouse will roar
- The Road to Homelessness
- Planning & Prosperity
- Viv Forbes and Jim Fryar vs Malcolm Fraser in 1979
- Quip, Quote, Rant and Rave: four of Viv Forbes' letters to the editor in The Australian in 1979
- Australia's First Official Political Party Poet Laureate: The Progress Party's Ken Hood in 1979
- Our homeless regulation refugees
- Progress Party and Workers Party lead The Australian
- Viv Forbes in 1978 on loss-making government, the Berlin Wall and misdirected blasts of hot-air