Dutch Australian cooperation on Flood Risk and Water Management

Brisbane gathers Water experts at a Live Conference with The Hague to discuss the Queensland-Netherlands Cooperation on Flood Risk and Water Management

On the occasion of the visit to Australia of the Dutch Vice-Minister for Trade, Simon Smits, over forty experts on water management, infrastructure, planning, architecture, and government officials gathered in Brisbane’s hotel Royal on the Park on June 19th.  Earlier that day, Simon Smits had met with Acting Premier Jackie Trad to discuss Queensland-Netherlands cooperation for the water sector. The conference connected experts from the Netherlands in The Hague through a video link with the participants in Brisbane, as the Queensland-Netherlands Cooperation on Flood Risk and Water Management discussed water governance.

Ken Sedgwick, Deputy Director-General of the Department of Energy and Water Supply gave an opening speech. Arwin van Buuren from Erasmus University of Rotterdam then presented on governance of flood risk in Dutch practice, followed by Richard Jorissen, director of the National Flood Protection Program, who shared insights on ways of applying Dutch governance in Queensland. Dutch Special Envoy for International Water Affairs, Henk Ovink, joined the discussion whilst working on flood risks in Eastern Europe.  Ovink’s position as water envoy on behalf of the Dutch government is unique in the world. He previously served as advisor to the American Federal Government and to the Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Taskforce.

The Dutch-Australian water cooperation started following the Queensland 2010-11 floods and continues up until today.

Queenslander Piet Filet, Convenor of the Community of Practice, moderated the meeting on the Brisbane side. Gert-Jan de Maagd of the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment was his co-host in The Hague.  The extensive interest from both the Netherlands and Australia to share knowledge and expertise highlights the growing collaboration on the topic of flood risk and water management. For Queensland particularly, one of the most important dimensions of the cooperation between Queensland and the Netherlands has in fact been durable knowledge sharing, the forum thus seeking for ways to further develop the partnership.

Source: Consulate-General of the Netherlands in Sydney

Images: Renee Veldman, 2011 Brisbane Floods (Petrie).  More images
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