2 Aug 2011

Queensland flood report issued

9:20 am on 2 August 2011

The Queensland Floods Commission has delivered its interim findings into the state's summer disasters.

The 250 page report makes more than 150 recommendations to improve the management of future disasters.

Thirty five people died in the floods and three people still missing.

Thousands of homes were destroyed when flooding occurred in huge areas of central and south-east Queensland in early January. Some 78% of the state was affected.

The inquiry, led by Justice Catherine Holmes, also says Wivenhoe Dam should be temporarily reduced to 75% capacity if another bad wet season is predicted.

Eleventh-hour releases from the dam in January were responsible for more than half of the floodwater in Brisbane.

State Premier Anna Bligh says the commission's recommendations will need in-depth consideration.

The commission received hundreds of public submissions and heard from 167 witnesses during seven weeks of hearings.

It paid particular attention to the disaster in the Lockyer Valley, west of Brisbane, where residents say they had no official alert about an ''inland tsunami'' that swamped the region.

Ms Bligh said she would table full costings of implementing the recommendations in Parliament in sittings beginning on 22 August.

She said it will take several years to implement all the measures.

Dam decision defended

Ms Bligh on Monday defended the government's decision not to reduce the storage level of Brisbane's Wivenhoe dam last summer.

The decision not to reduce the levels earlier was made by Stephen Robertson, the minister for natural resources at the time.

Ms Bligh says with the benefit of hindsight things would have been done differently.

She told ABC TV that Mr Robertson sought advice last December about possibly reducing the water levels in the dam.

Ms Bligh said he acted on advice that the reducing the levels in the damn would have a ''negligible'' effect on the height of the floods.

''What is clear from the report: there is no evidence to suggest at any point that the minister was provided with any advice other than there would be no benefit from lowering the dam levels,'' she said.