The Grampians is located approximately 220km west of Melbourne and is accessible via the major towns of Halls Gap and Dunkeld. The Grampians National Park covers approximately 168,110ha and is listed on the Australian Heritage Database National Heritage List and other localities in the Grampians are listed on the Register of the National Estate, which testifies to the significance of the landform and its attraction as a tourism destination.
In January 2011, heavy rains in the Grampians triggered more than 190 landslides, some of which were up to 3km long and caused considerable damage to private property, roads, walking tracks and public infrastructure in the region. The Halls Gap Community Safety Committee commissioned a geotechnical assessment which concluded that the majority of the landslides were debris flows triggered by 1 in 100 year rainfall.
In February 2011 and as a consequence of the January 2011 flooded sections of Halls Gap were evacuated due to heavy rain and the predicted threat of landslides impacting on parts of the town. Although the rain did not eventuate, the evaluated communities reported concern about the social and financial impact of the evacuations.
In response to these landslide events in the Grampians National Park, Federation University Australia was engaged by Northern Grampians Shire to investigate the social, economic and environmental impact of the events, which resulted in significant impact to the environment and communities surrounding the Park. The Grampians Natural Disaster Research website is part of an interoperable web-GIS maintained by the Centre for eResearch and Digital Innovation(CeRDI) at Federation University Australia (FedUni).
The overall objective of the Grampians Natural Disaster Research project is to document the environmental, economic and social impacts of the 2011 flood and landslide events as they impacted on individuals, businesses and community organisations, and representatives from government and non-government organisations (including emergency services organisations closely involved with the disaster management response to the 2011 floods in the Grampians region), and to integrate these into a consolidated inventory.
To achieve this, the following key questions emerged:
- What was the social impact (perceived and actual) of the 2011 event on communities in the Grampians, especially Halls Gap?
- What were the short and long term impacts (environmental, social and economic) of this event on these communities?
- What was the actual impact (environmental, social and economic) on the communities as perceived by local and regional agencies (government)?
- How could disaster management processes reduce the social and economic impact of any natural disaster event in the future, for this region?
This research will provide a greater understanding of the impact of the Grampians natural disaster on communities directly impacted by the floods and landslides. The results may be used to inform appropriate risk and emergency services management strategies to minimise the impact of such events on communities in the future.
This information can be used for future disaster management and planning in the Grampians region, and beyond, where many communities around the state require informed disaster management in response to climate change.
Project partners: Northern Grampians Shire Council, Ararat Rural City Council, Horsham Rural City Council, VicRoads, Parks Victoria, Southern Grampians Shire Council, Country Fire Authority, and with support from the State Emergency Service and Federation University Australia.