Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Inquiry into Queensland floods

The Premier of Queensland, Anna Bligh, announced a Commission of Inquiry unto Queensland’s January floods. This will be headed by Justice Cate Holmes, with former Queensland Police Commissioner Jim O’Sullivan, and Phil Cummins, chairman of the International Commission on Large Dams. It will look at preparation and planning, performance of private insurers, equipment and communications, forecasts and early warning systems.

Available are a media release "Premier establishes Commission of Inquiry into flood disaster"and "Terms of Reference":

The Commission’s Terms of Reference will require the Commission to deliver:
  • an interim report by 1 August 2011 (on matters associated with flood preparedness to enable early recommendations to be implemented before next summer’s wet season); and
  • its final report by 17 January 2012
The Commission will be asked to inquire into and report on:
  • The preparation and planning by federal, State and local governments; emergency services and the community for the 2010/2011 floods in Queensland.
  • The performance of private insurers in meeting their claims responsibilities.
  • All aspects of the response to the 2010/2011 flood events, particularly measures taken to inform the community and measures to protect life and private and public property, including:
    • immediate management, response and recovery;
    • resourcing, overall coordination and deployment of personnel and equipment;
    • adequacy of equipment and communications systems; and
    • the adequacy of the community’s response.
  • The measures to manage the supply of essential services such as power, water and communications during the 2010/2011 flood events
  • Adequacy of forecasts and early warning systems particularly as they related to the flooding events in Toowoomba, and the Lockyer and Brisbane Valleys.
  • Implementation of the systems operation plans for dams across the state and in particular the Wivenhoe and Somerset release strategy and an assessment of compliance with, and the suitability of the operational procedures relating to flood mitigation and dam safety.
  • All aspects of land use planning through local and regional planning systems to minimise infrastructure and property impacts from floods.
  • In undertaking its inquiries, the Commission is required to:
    • Take into account the regional and geographic differences across affected communities.
    • Seek public submissions and hold public hearings in affected communities.
  • The Commission of Inquiry is also required to make recommendations which it considers appropriate, feasible and cost effective to improve:
    • The preparation and planning for future flood threats and risks, in particular the prevention of the loss of life.
    • The emergency response in natural disaster events.
    • Any legislative changes needed to better protect life and property in natural disaster events.
From: Terms of Reference, Commission of Inquiry into flood disaster, Premier of Queensland, 17 January 2011

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