Queensland flood inquiry interim report released

THE Queensland Floods Commission of Inquiry today provided an interim report on the 2010/2011 flood events to the Queensland Government.

The Queensland Floods Commission of Inquiry was established by the Queensland Government on 17 January this year to inquire into the preparation and planning for the flooding by governments at all levels.

The Queensland floods, in December of 2010 and January 2011, caused the deaths of thirty-five people, with three still missing. More than 78 per cent of the state was declared a disaster zone, with over 2.5 million people affected. The costs of floods are estimated to be in excess of $5 billion.

The interim report examines a range issues relating to flood preparedness, and makes 175 recommendations focused on changes which can be implemented before the next wet season.

Of the 175 recommendations, Queensland Premier Anna Bligh said 104 apply to the state government, 65 to local governments and six to the Australian Government.

"We will pull out all stops to ensure every one of the recommendations for the Queensland Government is implemented, and I will make this my responsibility," Ms Bligh said.

"I will establish a dedicated unit within the Department of Premier and Cabinet to co-ordinate the response across a number of Government agencies."

Some of the Commission's recommendations include:

  • The need for more clarity about the roles and responsibilities of each water entity and the role of the Minister, the need for a comprehensive review of the Wivenhoe manual, and in the event of bureau of meteorology advice indicating an extreme wet season, a reduction of the dam to 75 per cent capacity;
  • Local government preparedness, including the need for strengthened evacuation planning and improved early warning systems;
  • The need for single point tasking of emergency helicopter operations; and
  • Upgraded training of triple zero operators, swift water rescue and additional SES volunteers.

The final report is due to be provided to the Queensland Government by 24 February 2012, and will examine a range of issues in the Inquiry's terms of reference, with a particular focus on insurance and land planning.

The Inquiry is conducted by Commissioner, Justice Catherine Holmes, assisted by Deputy Commissioners Mr Jim O'Sullivan AC and Mr Phillip Cummins.

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