The Queensland Floods Commission of Inquiry found today that mismanagement of the Wivenhoe Dam near Brisbane during the inundations exacerbated the crisis last year, Bligh said. The findings come eight days before the March 24 Queensland election.
“The inquiry has happened at a bad time for Bligh,” said John Wanna, a professor of public administration at the Canberra-based Australian National University. “Her government itself isn’t culpable for the floods but Queenslanders may see it as a sign of mismanagement.”
Bligh said three engineers at the dam have been referred today to the state’s Crime and Misconduct Commission, one of the report’s recommendations. Authorities will investigate whether they breached written policies, she said.
“A new Labor government, if I’m re-elected, will implement this report in its entirety, lock, stock and barrel,” Bligh told reporters in Brisbane today.
The flooding killed at least 35 people affected 70 towns and cities and saw three-quarters of the state declared a disaster zone.
Treasurer Wayne Swan forecast in May that last year’s flooding throughout Australia’s eastern states and a cyclone that hit Queensland would cost the nation’s economy A$9 billion ($9.5 billion) in lost output and reduce real gross domestic product growth by a half percentage point in fiscal 2010-2011.
Seqwater, southeast Queensland’s government bulk water supply provider, may face legal action due to the report, Bligh said. The inquiry didn’t establish liability for damage against Seqwater, she said.
Maurice Blackburn Lawyers is investigating a potential class action suit against the operators of the dam on behalf of flooded residents, according to its website.