On 17 January 2011 Premier Anna Bligh announced an inquiry into Queensland’s flood disaster. The inquiry will have the full powers of a Royal Commission and is expected to take one year.
The inquiry will, among other things, examine the following issues:-
- Changes to insurance policy definitions for flood events;
- The performance of private insurers;
- How state and local governments across Queensland can better protect their communities from the risks of flooding in the future;
- Whether the operators at Wivenhoe Dam retained water in the dam’s flood compartment for too long, forcing a drastic release that compounded the flood instead of mitigating it.
- Local government policies that permitted the building of thousands of properties in low lying and flood prone areas;
- The adequacy of forecasts and warning systems;
- The emergency response in natural disaster events.
The inquiry will be headed by Justice Cate Holmes and will be assisted by former police commissioner Jim O’Sullivan and international dam expert Phil Cummins.
The Commission is required to seek public submissions and hold public hearings in affected communities.
An interim report is expected in August 2011, and the final report is expected by January 2012