Engineers Australia releases comments on the Queensland Flood Commission of Inquiry Final Report
Engineers Australia report supports technical decisions during Wivenhoe Dam crisis
Engineers Australia has completed a comprehensive analysis of the implications of the Queensland Flood Commission of Inquiry’s Final Report and its recommendations for engineering professionals, in a report released today. The report, collated by senior engineers and flood-experts from Engineers Australia’s Queensland Division Flood Committee, highlights the intense and highly complex challenges faced by the dam engineers responding to the flood crisis in 2011. The report also focuses on four key areas concerning flooding and floodplain management including; planning, resilience, response and implementation. “Currently floodplain management is the responsibility of local authorities, with some input from state and federal advisors. This approach is inconsistent across the state, resulting in varying flood management,” said Steven Goh, Engineers Australia Queensland Division President.
“This is in contrast to other states where the state government has a significant role in the floodplain management process, particularly supporting local government and communities. Having a more consistent approach throughout the state and Australia-wide would be a valuable contribution to mitigating the damage and providing a better level of community safety throughout all parts of Queensland.
“Engineers have a critical role to play in protecting the community, particularly in times of crisis. Engineers Australia believes that the most important lessons to be learnt from the 2011 floods are those that go towards ensuring that improvements in floodplain management, flood preparedness and emergency services are implemented throughout the state for the future.
“Engineers Australia has not questioned the technical competence of the engineers involved in the floods. Given the circumstances, the dam operators performed appropriately. Flood operation is a multifaceted task that requires specialised operators who must use their expert technical judgment, with guidance from flood operation manuals or other appropriate documentation.
“Community awareness programs to understand appropriate responses to flooding should be implemented well in advance of flood-crisis situations. Severe flooding has occurred in the past and can happen again. Ongoing community engagement and education is crucial during non-flood periods for the protection and safety of society,” said Mr Goh.
Engineers Australia is committed to protecting the standards in the profession and working with local authorities, state and federal governments to assist in the preparedness of the community to deal with natural disasters and crisis situations.