|Queensland floods: |
The final report
With the launch of the inquiry’s findings being caught up in a web of political and ethical intrigue, those with a genuine interest in flood risk management were urged to read all of the report very closely.
After its complex investigation, the Queensland Floods Commission of Inquiry hopes that lessons learnt from these events will not be forgotten. Suzanne Pritchard reports.
We needed to ask questions about how this event occurred, how we responded and if we can do better should such events ever occur again.
As most of the state was affected these questions had to be examined over a very large geographical area. Inquiries had to be made and hearings held in a variety of locations. The Commission was ordered to provide the Queensland government with an interim report on 1 August 2011 (see IWP&DC September 2011, pp 56-61). The final report was originally required by 17 January 2012 but after two extensions to allow for further evidence, this was rescheduled for 16 March.
As the report states: “There is, it is obvious, plenty of scope for argument about whether adherence to the manual strategies would have made a difference to the way in which the flood engineers actually operated the dam; but the possibility certainly exists that they would have responded more quickly to the developing conditions of 9 January had their mindset been one of applying strategy W3. Ascertaining the practical result of acting more quickly also is subject to the uncertainties inherent in the modelling; but again, the possibility exists of at least some improvement in the flooding outcome for Brisbane and Ipswich.”
The flooding in Brisbane and Ipswich could, as Mr Babister’s study has shown, have been reduced to some degree had the dam had its capacity reduced to 75% prior to the December rains; but to appreciate what the magnitude of the rain would be and that it would fall in the dam area would have required a more than human capacity of prediction. What is concerning, though is the apparent inertia of government when the possibility was raised.”
|Queensland Floods Commission of Inquiry Interim Report. August 2011.|
Queensland Floods Commission of Inquiry Final Report. March 2012.
Full copies of the reports can be obtained from www.floodcommission.qld.gov.au
28 June 2012