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'Ipswich CBD should never have flooded'

IF ONLY: The Maurice Blackburn flood map based on a January 2011 flood map. The green areas are where there would have been no flooding had Wivenhoe Dam been operated competently, lawyers claim. Orange is where there would have been six inches of flooding.
IF ONLY: The Maurice Blackburn flood map based on a January 2011 flood map. The green areas are where there would have been no flooding had Wivenhoe Dam been operated competently, lawyers claim. Orange is where there would have been six inches of flooding.

THE class action against the State Government on behalf of more than 4000 flood victims will now go ahead with Ipswich residents set for compensation payouts if it is successful.

An independent investigation by specialist compensation lawyers Maurice Blackburn, which took over a year to complete, concluded that the flooding of a large number of properties downriver from Wivenhoe Dam in 2011 would not have occurred had the dam been operated to the standard expected of a reasonably competent dam operator.

A map of the affects of the 2011 floods shows areas where there would have been no flooding had the dam been operated correctly and areas where there would have been six inches of flooding.

The modelling shows that the Ipswich CBD would not have been flooded had the dam been operated in a reasonably competent manner.

Cr Paul Tully has done his own modelling of the impact of the floods on Goodna based on an assumption of correct management of the Wivenhoe Dam. He said the results were "staggering." There were 600 homes and businesses in Goodna inundated by the floods.

"I have done my own modelling which shows that only 15 houses and four businesses would have been flooded had the dam been operated correctly," he said.

Maurice Blackburn principal Damian Scattini said public meetings would be announced in the near future in Ipswich to inform residents of the results of the investigation and what they needed to do.

"We have now got sufficient evidence to proceed with the class action and be successful," he said.

We have now got sufficient evidence to proceed with the class action and be successful.

Mr Scattini said the flood map released by his firm shows that "the Ipswich CBD would not have flooded" had the dam been operated correctly. The case will proceed on a no win, no fee basis and is being underwritten by IMF Australia.

Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale said there was no doubt that Wivenhoe Dam could have been managed better.

"If Wivenhoe Dam had been used 100 per cent for flood mitigation and water released a lot earlier, then the affects on Ipswich would have been different," he said. "There are a lot of parts of Ipswich that wouldn't have been flooded."

Goodna flood victim Cuong "Chin" Van Tran lost both his business and home in the floods.

"I put my name down for the class action and now I am going to sign up," he said.

"I lost my home and business. All up, it would be $1.5 million that I lost.

"If I get that money back then I will start up my business again. But I can't now, because I have no money."

If I get that money back then I will start up my business again. But I can't now, because I have no money.

Seqwater CEO Terri Benson said she was "confident that Wivenhoe Dam was managed and performed as it was designed".

"Our approach has been vindicated by a range of independent experts including one of the world's leading dam authorities, the United States Bureau of Reclamation and United States Army Corps of Engineers," she said.

"Seqwater remains acutely aware of the impact of the floods and the devastation caused."

A series of information meetings will be held in flood-affected areas to provide local residents and businesses with an opportunity to receive further information about the action.

For more information on that, visit imf.com.au or call 1800 809 600.

Topics:  damian scattini goodna maurice blackburn lawyers paul tully queensland floods seqwater wivenhoe dam



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