ACT News


SES crews on standby to head to Queensland

The ACT State Emergency Service is on standby to send rescue and clean-up crews to Queensland and northern NSW.

ACT State Emergency Service Chief Officer Tony Graham said he made the offer to NSW and Queensland authorities on Monday morning, but had not discussed specifically how many people might be sent.

''We can have crews on the ground attending to any storms, flooding - the very types of jobs we have here. We've got some flood boat crews that we could send north if needed, we've got incident management people, liaison people, media people,'' Mr Graham said.

The ACT Emergency Services Agency has already sent a mapping crew to Queensland to assist the Red Cross. ACT Rural Fire Service chief Andrew Stark is also in Queensland as part of a federal emergency management assistance team.

Severe weather associated with ex-tropical Cyclone Oswald was not expected to affect the ACT over the next few days.

Mr Graham said the ACT SES had almost finished dealing with 641 calls for help made after Canberra was hit by severe storms on Saturday night.


"A lot of the flooding that occurred a couple of days ago has now subsided so most of it is in relation to roof damage and a few trees that are down still,'' he said.

Mr Graham said much of the damage could have been prevented if people had taken simple measures such as ensuring downpipes and drains were kept clear.

"What we find is so many of the places we go to, the cause of the damage was preventable. If people had just a little bit of preparation beforehand, then maybe they wouldn't be calling on our services,'' he said.

Queanbeyan mayor Tim Overall said several people from the Karabar area were still staying in motels after their homes were inundated on Saturday night. "There's the natural slope of the land and drains not being able to cope with the deluge. Some of them have had up to half a metre of water through their house,'' Mr Overall said.

The ACT's major dams had a combined storage of more than 92 per cent on Monday.

Googong Dam, which is upriver from Queanbeyan, was at more than 99 per cent capacity.

But Mr Overall said the level of water in the dam was generally not relevant to whether or not Queanbeyan faced a flood threat.

An ACTEW Water spokeswoman said there were no plans to draw the water level in the dam down.

''Googong is a water supply dam and cannot be operated for flood mitigation. The capacity of the reservoir and design of the spillway, however, help to minimise the impacts of a flood event,'' the spokeswoman said.

The ACT government unveiled on Tuesday details of several projects which will be funded by the federal and ACT government to improve disaster preparedness.