Flood Commission findings boost class action prospects

16 March 2012
Lawyers for the victims of the 2011 flood downstream of Wivenhoe Dam have welcomed the findings of the Commission of Inquiry, released today.

The Inquiry found that the manual that governs the operation of the Dam was breached.

Maurice Blackburn partner, Rod Hodgson said, "The findings confirm what many people suspected: too much water was allowed to accumulate in Wivenhoe, and the strategy for water releases was botched. The dam operators did not release enough water early enough and that meant far too much was released later on. The operators failed to take account of rainfall forecasts at key times."

The statements of three engineers were found to be false and they have been referred to the Crime and Misconduct Commission (CMC).

Maurice Blackburn has represented victims of the disaster since the Floods Commission started in April 2011.

"The inquiry also found that opportunities may have existed for earlier releases of water," said Mr Hodgson. 

"The findings of the Inquiry give hope to those wanting to be part of a potential class action

"There's more investigation work to be done and the national litigation funder IMF has teamed with Maurice Blackburn to commit to those investigations.

"This potential class action is on behalf of any businesses, community groups and householders downstream of the Wivenhoe dam, and who were flooded.

"The Inquiry found that the possibility existed of at least some improvements in the flooding outcomes for Brisbane and Ipswich.

"The economic and personal consequences of the mishandling of Queensland's most dangerous piece of infrastructure are still reverberating among thousands of people.

"There were monumental losses suffered by businesses, community groups and householders and it now seems that a significant part of that disaster was man-made.

"As sign up for the potential class action gather pace, our efforts to gather further evidence focus on independent hydro dynamic modeling, to show how much of a difference the proper operation of the dam would have made."

Maurice Blackburn and IMF have now addressed five public meetings in flood affected areas and another meeting will be held on Monday evening at 7pm at Goodna State School.