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During the consultation and submission stage of the review, the public was invited to contribute to the review by making a submission and sharing their experiences. This could be done online or in-person at a drop-in information session. This process provided a vital opportunity for the community to contribute to our understanding of the flood event and we would like to acknowledge and thank the community members who participated.

  • Submissions

    • Purpose: to share information and views relevant to the Terms of Reference of the independent Flood Review.
    • Outcome: 63 submissions were received via the online submission form, email and post.
    • Next steps: all submissions have been provided to the Independent Review Panel for consideration and can be viewed on this website (see SUBMISSIONS tab on this page).
  • Share your experience

    • Purpose: to share information outside the scope of the Independent Review including personal stories and images
    • Outcome: 51 community members shared their experiences, which have been collated into a Shared Experiences Report (see SHARED EXPERIENCES tab on this page).
    • Next steps: the Shared Experiences Report has been provided to the Independent Review Panel to help inform their overall understanding of the flood event. It will also be provided to relevant agencies for consideration.
  • Information sessions

    • Purpose: to provide opportunities for the community to learn more about the review and submission process, share flood experiences, and speak with the agencies involved in the flood event.
    • Outcome: 114 unique attendees across 6 community information sessions (2 online and 4 in-person).
    • Next steps: recordings of the online sessions can be watched on demand (see INFORMATION SESSION RECORDINGS tab on this page).

Engagement report

This report provides a detailed outline of the engagement activities undertaken to support and inform the public consultation and submissions stage of the Maribyrnong River Flood Review. It summarises Melbourne Water's engagement approach, the community response, and the key themes observed throughout the public participation process.

The views and opinions expressed within this report represent the voice of participating community and stakeholders, and are not the views or opinions of Melbourne Water, or the independent Review Panel. However, the feedback will help to inform Melbourne Water’s response and future work with partner agencies.


The submission period was open from 17 January to 17 March 2023. Submissions could be made in writing via an online submission form on this website, or via email or post. Submissions could be made in the submitter's preferred language, and translation services were available upon request.

A total of 63 submissions were received and have been provided to the independent Review Panel for consideration.

If you made a submission, you may be contacted by the Review Panel to discuss your submission further.

Submission documents

All submissions are published below. To view a submission click on the title. You will notice that each submission has sections of text blacked out. This indicates where personal information has been removed to protect privacy.

All submissions are in PDF format. If you require a document in an alternative format please contact us at [email protected]

Shared experiences

Participants were invited to:

  • speak with an engagement practitioner at one of the six community information sessions
  • submit their story in writing, including images, via email or post
  • submit their story in writing, via an interactive map on this website.

We would like to acknowledge the community members who participated in the Share Your Experience sessions and thank them for taking the time to share their experiences of the flood event. Their stories contribute to the historical record of the event, and help provide additional context beyond the scope of the independent review.

A total of 51 community members shared their personal experiences of the flood event.

What we heard - key themes

The impacts of the flooding are varied and far-reaching, with many community members still affected today. Despite these variations, a number of common experiences became evident. The following key themes emerged through the experiences shared by the participating community members. More detail can be found in the Shared Experiences Report.

  • Many participants indicated a lack of understanding within the community about when or how to act during a flood event.
  • Other participants shared that even when a flood plan had been prepared, it was not helpful during the event.
  • Many participants felt the flood warnings and alerts were inadequate, were not received, were received too late to act, or that public information did not alert them to the potential significance of the flood, or the need to act. Others commented that they could not access or understand important information.
  • Many participants spoke about receiving warnings from concerned family, friends and neighbours.
  • Other participants spoke about the inaccuracy in warnings and alerts they received through various sources, adding to confusion about the urgency of the event.
  • Many participants commented that the level, speed and intensity of the flood was greater than expected, taking many residents by surprise. Long-term residents of the area commented that the flood was the biggest they had experienced.
  • Many participants reported observing sources of flooding from overflowing stormwater drains.
  • Other participants commented on the amount of debris and rubbish in the aftermath of the flood.
  • Several who shared their experience felt the response by government, both state and local, as well as agencies such as Melbourne Water and the SES was inadequate. It was generally commented that people expected more ‘boots on the ground’ before, during and after the flood.
  • Other community members however, praised their local council for their swift clean-up efforts, and were grateful for SES help during the evacuation.
  • Participants described the unexpected indirect impacts of road closures and power outages.

Participants praised friends, family, neighbours and volunteers for coming together to support each other.

The engagement sessions heard that the recovery is still ongoing, with many people facing long-term emotional and financial impacts, including:

  • Ongoing impacts to mental health and wellbeing; stress, anxiety, uncertainty about the future.
  • Significant loss and damage to property and personal belongings.
  • Displacement: many of the residents we heard from were still in emergency accommodation at the time of the consultation period.
  • Experiences of financial hardship and devaluation of property.
  • Some participants expressed frustration with challenges and issues dealing with slow insurance processes. Others highlighted difficulties obtaining or affording insurance even before the flood event.
  • Loss of independence for retirees.
  • Environmental impacts, including damage to riverbanks, access roads and
    equipment, raising concerns about responsibility for covering these costs.
  • Many participants expressed the need for enhanced flood awareness and preparedness education, so that people would be better informed about their flood risk and how to prepare, respond and act in a flood event.
  • Communities are looking for solutions to prevent future flooding. They also have a desire to be better prepared and more resilient if floods occur again.

Some participants shared their suggestions about what may have caused or contributed to the extent and duration of the flood, including:

  • Flemington Racecourse floodwall
  • Development along the river including Edgewater, the Chase, Metro Tunnel
  • Release of water from the Rosslynne Reservoir in the days leading up to the flood event
  • Blocked stormwater drains.
  • Participants commented on historical planning decisions, questioning how developments could be approved in flood plains and why mitigations didn’t prevent flooding.
  • In contrast, one resident commented that one local development was built up and this stopped water inundating homes.

Some participants criticised the scope of the Maribyrnong River Flood Review, saying the Terms of Reference were too limited.

Some participants noted a difference between predicted and actual flood levels, and questioned whether Melbourne Water’s flood modelling was accurate.

Shared Experiences Report

The Shared Experiences Report captures the stories, experiences and images of the Maribyrnong River flood event shared by the 51 community members as part of the Share Your Experience process.

This report has been provided to the Review Panel to help inform their overall understanding of the flood event. It will also be provided to relevant agencies (including councils and the VicSES) for consideration.

Community photos

Information session recordings

Video: Community Information Session, 24 January 2023

Transcript: community information session, 24 January 2023 (43KB, DOCX)

This video is a recording of the first hour of the online community information session held on Tuesday 24 January 2023. Please note, because personal stories were shared during the second hour of the session, this section was not recorded to protect privacy.

Video: Community Information Session, 1 March 2023

Transcript: community information session, 1 March 2023 (72KB, DOCX)

This video is a recording of the first hour of the online community information session held on Wednesday 1 March. Please note, because personal stories were shared during the second hour of the session, this section was not recorded to protect privacy.

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Melbourne Water respectfully acknowledges the Bunurong, Gunaikurnai, Taungurung, Wadawurrung and Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung peoples as the Traditional Owners and Custodians of the land and water on which we rely and operate.
We pay our deepest respects to their Elders - past, present and emerging.