Queensland flood devastation ‘could have been avoided’, lawyers claim
The devastation caused by the flooding across South East Queensland in 2010 and 2011 could have been avoided if operators of the Wivenhoe and Somerset Dams had properly followed their own manual, a court will hear.
Lawyers for 6000 Queensland flood victims will argue that the dam operators ignored critical aspects of their manual which lead to errors that worsened catastrophic flooding throughout Brisbane and the southeast of the state.
Rebecca Gilsenan, from Maurice Blackburn, the firm leading the class action, said operators failed to take notice of weather predictions in the lead up to the massive rainfall over the summer of 2010-2011.
“Astoundingly, they did not take into account the weather forecasts in making decisions about how to operate the dam during the flood event, only taking notice of rainfall once it had on fact fallen on the ground,” Ms Gilsenan said.
“This was too late.”
On her way into the Supreme Court in Sydney, which is where the matter is being heard, Ms Gilsenan said the trial will be emotional for the 6000 flood victims.
“It will be emotional, yes, but it will also bring relief that these people are finally having their questions and concerns aired in court” she said.
The class action is one of the biggest in Australia’s history and will likely run for 84 days.
Lawyers for the plaintiff, and lawyers for the Queensland Government subsidiary SEQ Water will give their opening addresses over the next fortnight.
It’s expected that expert witnesses, and the flood victims themselves will be called to Gove evidence in February 2018.