The first strategic regional approach to flood evacuation signage in NSW will see a network of 150 new signs installed across the Hawkesbury-Nepean Valley, helping to guide residents along key flood evacuation routes and out of the floodplain in the Penrith, Hawkesbury, Hills and Blacktown council areas.
Minister for Western Sydney Stuart Ayres and Member for Riverstone Kevin Conolly today inspected the progress of the signage roll out, which marks a key part of the NSW Government’s Hawkesbury-Nepean Valley Flood Risk Management Strategy – Resilient Valley, Resilient Communities.
“Its unique geography and large existing population means the Hawkesbury-Nepean Valley has the highest single flood exposure in NSW, if not Australia” Mr Ayres said.
“If a flood similar to the 2011 Brisbane flood happened in the Hawkesbury-Nepean Valley now, around 64,000 people would need to evacuate.”
Roads and Maritime Services has been working with the NSW State Emergency Services (NSW SES), Infrastructure NSW and local councils to upgrade evacuation route signs and implement an education program to raise awareness and understanding of flood evacuation routes.
Mr Conolly said the new signage will help emergency services evacuate local residents more safely when the next major flood comes.
“If a major flood hits the valley, the depth and extent of floodwaters will mean that for many people taking shelter in their home will simply not be an option. Instead safe evacuation will rely on people using private vehicles to leave before the floodwaters arrive,” Mr Conolly said.
The design of the signage system has been tested on 100 local residents using driving simulators, while specific locations were selected in consultation with the NSW SES.
“If you live or work in the valley, we want you to know your flood risk and be prepared to evacuate when directed, because it’s not a matter of ‘if’ another flood happens in this valley, it’s a really matter of when,” Mr Ayres said.
MEDIA: Felicity Nethery | Minister Ayres | 0455