Lack of warning in multiple floods, Queensland inquiry told | The Australian

Lack of warning in multiple floods, Queensland inquiry told | The Australian.

flood condamine hotel

The Condamine Bell Hotel surrounded by floodwaters at 10am on January 2. Picture: Roz Brownlie Source: The Courier-Mail

STIFLING bureaucracy and a lack of warning contributed to the angst suffered by people in the Western Darling Downs, the Queensland flood inquiry has heard.

Towns and properties across the region suffered seven different floods between December 21 and January 17, including inundation of the small town of Condamine that was compulsorily evacuated twice.

Counsel assisting the inquiry Elizabeth Wilson, said a common theme emerging was the lack of warning about the future inundation.

Ms Wilson said although the Western Darling Downs floods did not cost lives, they took away people’s properties and livelihoods.

The farming town of Condamine had major flooding twice on January 1 and January 16 with record peaks of 15.25m and 16.27m, which flooded every home in the town.

Condamine farmer and SES volunteer Glen Taylor told the commission emergency workers were hindered by a lack of information about the predicted flood heights of the Condamine River.

“We were trying to get information from the met bureau and we tried to ring the people up the river but they had moved on,” he said.

Mr Taylor said a change in the SES regulatory system had led to more bureaucracy that hindered local control.

“We used to have a fair bit of control and took charge but now there was a bit of over-regulation,” he said, citing a stop on army trucks crossing a bridge to get supplies into town.

“Main Roads said you can’t use that bridge .Well the hole in that bridge has been there since ’83,” he said.

He also said an oversupply of 350 government care packs was unnecessary for the town of 250.

“They all meant well, but it just didn’t dovetail,” he said.

Farmer Robert Sanderson recommended automatic flood gauges on rivers, after half of his 3000 acre cattle and grain property flooded.

He said after Condamine was evacuated the river height reading was sporadic, as it required a manual reading.

Chinchilla resident Sylvia Naylor said she received little warning or information from authorities her home flooded.

Copyright 2011 News Limited


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