CLAIMS SunWater and the Central Highlands council “failed” to make adequate flood preparations for an unprecedented wet season will be scrutinised when the Queensland Floods Commission of Inquiry moves to Emerald next week.
Eight statements will be tendered into evidence at the two-day public hearing, which gets underway on Tuesday afternoon at the Emerald courthouse.
Rolleston residents left to fend for themselves when the town was cut off by floodwaters for weeks on end is one contentious issue, as are town planning decisions and the floodproofing of road corridors.
Central Highlands councillor Gail Nixon who co-ordinated much of the evacuation, and resupply to Rolleston, highlighted the need for emphasis to be put on local knowledge in natural disaster situations.
“We knew, from accurate local information, the likely extent of the flood,” she said in her statement.
“We had trigger points for a response and had the capacity to implement an appropriate response.
“That response was achieved without fanfare or incident.”
Mrs Nixon also called for a rescue helicopter service to be based in the Central Highlands, more rain gauging stations in the upper Comet River catchment and improved mobile phone coverage.
Grazier Max Mayne called the Rolleston flood event the “highest ever recorded in white settlement in this area”.
The inquiry will also examine statements from Central Highlands Mayor Peter Maguire, Emerald resident Alan Mann, Barcaldine Regional Council chief executive Des Howard and police officer Sergeant Jim Kelly on the response to flooding in Alpha and Jericho.
The response from the Alpha community to the threat of summer flooding was nothing short of “outstanding”.
Sgt Kelly, officer-in-charge for 16 years in the 400-strong township, praised the “can do” attitude of residents in his statement.
Any or all of the statements’ authors may be called before the inquiry headed by Commissioner Justice Catherine Holmes.
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