Confused yet?

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October 13, 2010:

Brisbane Lord Mayor Campbell Newman says the current weather conditions are very similar and residents should start thinking about preparing for another big flood.

“Back in ’73 there was an extended period of wet leading up to January ’74 where we had a cyclonic rain event which turned into a rain depression and then dumped a whole lot of rain in the catchment areas,” he said.

“That’s something that will one day happen again and given that this is the first time we have had so much rain, plus with full dams, again it is of concern.”

15 October 2010:

Queensland Premier Anna Bligh says emergency authorities should be giving the public the same message about potential flooding in Brisbane.

“I do think this is confusing and I think it would be much better for the Brisbane City Council and the Bureau [of Meteorology] and Seqwater to be speaking with one voice,” she said.

“When I return to Brisbane one of the things I’ll be doing, given we are expected to have a very, very wet summer, is meeting with those agencies and I think we need to put a protocol in place about the advice that’s given.”

From the Queensland Floods Commission of Inquiry, 1 August 2011, pp. 46-47:

On 18 October 2010, James Davidson of the Bureau of Meteorology briefed Cabinet about the seasonal forecast, warning that the 2010/2011 wet season would be unusually intense.

… the Minister looked to the office of the South East Queensland Water Grid Manager for advice.

It should also be noted that the only source from which the Minister sought advice was the Water Grid Manager, which in turn consulted with Seqwater. No advice was sought from anyone within DERM, notwithstanding the interest that this department and other arms of government had (or ought to have had) in the topics of dam safety and flood mitigation.

… On the basis of the information received on 13 December 2010, Mr Robertson said, he made the decision not to proceed with the proposal for a temporary reduction of the full supply levels. The process was ‘parked’.

There is no record of the Minister’s having made this decision or telling anyone about it – then or at any time.

… In sum, an examination of the activities and correspondence reveals that the relevant responsibilities were not the subject of a clear understanding between those involved. The Minister did nothing to resolve this confusion.

Anna Bligh, 730, 1 August 2011:

While there was some confusion about who should provide advice and in what order, there was no confusion or lack of clarity about the actual advice. The actual advice in writing, at the time, the best available information that people had was that there should not be a lowering of the dam.

… I think the the view of the Commission set out very clearly now makes it absolutely clear what everybody’s role in it is and I think legislating that will avoid any confusion in the future.