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Great Southern towns hit hardest by July flooding to receive repair funding

Great Southern shires hit hardest by this winter’s wild weather are set to receive government relief packages to help repair their communities.

In July, the region was crippled by heavy rain, strong winds and flooding, with one Katanning man dying in floodwaters in Wagin.

The shires of Katanning, Dumbleyung, Wagin, West Arthur, Narrogin, Pingelly and Boddington have been identified as communities needing help to repair essential public assets following the extreme weather events.

Dumbleyung was one of the hardest hit communities, with an estimated $750,000 to $1 million in damage inflicted on infrastructure due to flooding across roads, salt flats and farms.

Shire of Dumbleyung president Julie Ramm said almost all the roads in her shire had been affected to some extent.

“We have warning signs up on quite a few roads still because they are not repaired yet,” she said. “There are a lot of pot holes, road surfaces and culverts washed away and some of the repair work we did after the 2017-18 floods has been impacted.

“For about four to five days during the heaviest flooding I couldn’t get to town. There are three towns that I usually have access to but I couldn’t get to any of them.”

Dumbleyung sergeant John Allanson and Great Southern superintendant Kim Travers
Camera IconDumbleyung sergeant John Allanson and Great Southern superintendant Kim Travers Credit: Picture: Tom Shanahan

Ms Ramm said without the funding the Shire would not have the budget to repair all the roads.

“We don’t have the money allowance in our budget to repair the amount of roads that have been damaged within the year,” she said.

“This is a significant boost for us to get our roads back to where they were prior to the floods.

“Without this there is really no way we could financially recover, it would be a massive detriment to other areas which we have already allocated our budget to.”

The State Government announced the shires would would receive relief through the jointly-funded Commonwealth-State Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements, which Roe MLA Peter Rundle said would ensure ratepayers were not burdened with the cost of the clean-up.

“The severe storms between July 20 and 31 caused extensive damage to infrastructure and public assets,” he said.

“Some areas recorded more than 75mm of rain within 24 hours, causing flooding to major roads, while winds of up to 126km/h felled trees across roads.

“The impact of the storms caused major disruptions … and this disaster funding will go a long way as we rebuild and get back on track.”

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