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Engineers demand more detail over flood litigation

By Elise Worthington and Eric Tlozek, Wednesday January 23, 2013 - 07:51 EDT
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Law firm Maurice Blackburn says a report by U-S hydrologists claims Wivenhoe Dam operators were negligent in the 2011 flood crisis. - ABC

The engineers association has challenged lawyers preparing a class action over the 2011 Queensland floods to release more information.

Law firm Maurice Blackburn says a report by U-S hydrologists claims the operators of Wivenhoe Dam were negligent and caused unnecessary damage to thousands of homes in Brisbane and Ipswich.

This week the law firm announced the Queensland Government and Seqwater would soon be facing a billion-dollar lawsuit over the management of Wivenhoe Dam during the 2011 flood crisis.

But Engineers Australia Queensland president Simon Orton says the evidence is not clear and details of the report need to be made public.

"For example, how they calibrated the model, how they matched the model to record the flood data, the survey information on the ground and the riverbed levels on the flood plain - and certainly what dam operational rules or assumptions were applied to their model," he said.

"Essentially the lawyers have some made some allegations and we would like to see the community is served best by making that information become public."

Yesterday Queensland Treasurer Tim Nicholls said people claiming compensation for flood damage would be taking money from fellow taxpayers.

Mr Nicholls says while both Seqwater and the Government carry insurance for such matters, a large claim would affect the State's bottom line.

"Queenslanders should understand that any payout that the Government makes to anyone comes at a cost to the Government of Queensland," he said.

"I think it's very premature to say what will be the outcome when we haven't seen the claim.

"We haven't even seen the name of the engineers who have provided the report."


© ABC 2013

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