Early Impact Insights

From late 2022, through to 2023, flood waters travelled down the River Murray, creating significant social and economic impacts on local communities and the regional economy.

Insights for Early Impact

Resilience in the Region…

The gradual increase and recession of flows and flood waters has further tested the resilience of regional communities that have been heavily impacted in the past by Covid-19, bushfires, and drought.

This has contributed to the largest response and recovery initiative in South Australia’s history, with overwhelming support from Governments, organisations, and communities alike. Although we have seen many examples of stoicism, there are many lessons that should not be ignored if we want to continue to build resilience within our regions.

With State Minister for Emergency Services, The Hon Joe Szakacs MP, stating that the River Murray flood event is the largest natural disaster in the State’s history, and the Minister for Agriculture, Drought and Emergency Management Australia, Senator the Hon Murray Watt, stating that the intent is to ‘build back better’, Regional Development Australia Murraylands and Riverland (RDAMR) committed to helping quantify the extent of these impacts by providing evidence-based information and insights from those at the center of this declared emergency.

To support regional recovery from this flood event, RDAMR facilitating the delivery of a River Murray Flood Event 2022-23: Early Impact Insights. This report includes industry and community impact case studies that helps support communities and governments alike to prepare for our future and is supported by an Early Economic Impact Assessment conducted by BDO EconSearch.

In the immediate aftermath of the River Murray flood event, RDAMR staff connected across the region. Staff listened to the community in a robust way, conducting a series of in-person, semi-structured interviews with community members impacted both directly and indirectly by the 2022-23 flood events across the region. The interviews and their resultant themes as detailed in the report.

RDAMR are grateful for the support of State and Local Governments in the preparation of this Early Impact Insights Report and note that, at the time of developing the report, Primary Industries and Regions SA (PIRSA) and other agencies are investigating specific impacts from this event, for example, the value of Lower Murray floodplains and their levy systems.

This report is designed to be one of many contributions that our region can draw from, to support our progress through recovery and learn lessons for preparedness.

The point of difference with this report is that it is focused on capturing the experience, ‘the voice’, of the people impacted by this event, and distilling this voice into key findings that will help us all to prepare and build back better.


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