The Victorian Government is offering to buy back land from some flood-affected farmers around Kerang in the state's north, under a $21 million flood package being announced today.
The Government says the one-year buyback will be voluntary and allow people to move off flood-prone land and re-establish elsewhere.
Some land around Kerang is still underwater from the January floods and Water Minister Peter Walsh says a community-based committee will identify land for potential buyback.
Mr Walsh says the process will be voluntary but the Government wants to create flood-paths where there are no levees.
He says it aims to prevent a repeat of the January flooding by allowing for more open floodways.
"The very clear message that both myself and the premier got when we visited Benjeroop and Murrabit and Kerang was that people did not want to go through a situation like we have just been through again," he said.
"There is a flood study for that area that was done in the mid-80s that has never been implemented and a number of people talked about the fact that the floodpaths need to be opened up so that you don't end up in the situation we had in January."
Mr Walsh says land that is bought back will still have productive use.
"[It will be] most likely placed back on the market for people to buy, but it would have flood covenants over the land where it would be a designated flood path," he said.
"In the future I assume it would most likely be broadacre or dry-land, grazing land so when there is a flood there is actually somewhere for the water to go."
The Victorian Farmers Federation (VFF) expects the Government's offer will lead to a change in land use.
VFF president Andrew Broad says while the land is very productive, the risk of flooding makes it tough for the likes of dairy farmers.
"If you've got high infrastructure it becomes quite expensive when you hit a flood as opposed to broadacre or grazing where, whilst the losses are also reasonably substantial, but not to the capacity that high-infrastructure and high-intensity agriculture is," he said.
- Australian Broadcasting Corporation
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