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Engineers Australia Wants Flood Class Action Information to be Made Available

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on February 2, 2013

Queensland Flood

If the class action lawsuit over the Queensland floods proceeds following the devastating damage caused in 2011, then Engineers Australia wants the information surrounding the action to be made freely available.

An independent investigation has concluded that the flooding of a large number of properties down river from Wivenhoe Dam in 2011 would not have occurred had the dam’s operations been up to the standards expected of a reasonably competent dam operator.

Comprehensive modelling will form the basis of a class action lawsuit on behalf of thousands of flood victims in Queensland’s southeast. The modelling will be run on a no-win no-fee basis by Maurice Blackburn Lawyers and backed by litigation funder IMF Australia.

Maurice Blackburn Class Actions principal Damian Scattini said there is sufficient evidence to ensure a class action could proceed.

“Our modelling shows that had Wivenhoe been operated properly there would not have been flooding in some areas,” he said. “In other areas this poor operation meant flooding was much worse than it should have been. This evidence provides us with strong grounds to proceed with a class action.”

Rosalie Brisbane Flood

Rosalie was one of the badly affected suburbs in the 2011 Brisbane flood. Photo: Glen Hunt

IMF executive director John Walker said it was important for people in affected areas to show their support for the class action.

“The work has been done to build a solid case, and we’re now calling on people to register for the action,” he said. “Already we’ve had strong support from people affected and continuing this is vital to ensuring this case can progress.”

While acknowledging the significant loss and emotional strain suffered by Queenslanders,Engineers Australia’s Queensland Division president Simon Orton has called for open and informed debate and spoken out against allegations being made without releasing any credible technical evidence to support these claims.

“Without this data, it is impossible for anyone to form a view of the accuracy of the data, the resultant alternative flood maps, or any lessons that may be learned to better serve our communities,” he said. “It is our role to ensure that the community is adequately informed on important technical issues such as these. To enable this to occur we look forward to the data and methodology behind the suggested flood maps being made publicly available and open for review.”

In a statement, Orton said that although it was important to learn lessons from the past, it was equally important to focus on the challenges ahead to assist in the preparedness of the community to cope with future floods. Issues such as town planning and design to enhance community resilience against future floods should be a specific focus, he suggested.

By Justin McGar


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