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Three-day 'rain bomb' was Brisbane's worst-case scenario, flood report finds

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Brisbane’s devastating 2022 floods were the result of a “worst case scenario” for the city, an official report has found.

 

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The probe, conducted by former governor and supreme court chief justice Paul de Jersey, was initiated in an effort to better prepare Brisbane for future flooding events.

“I’ve reached the view that this was a worst-case scenario for Brisbane and its people,” Mr de Jersey said.

The report has recommended an expansion of Council’s Flood Resilient Homes Program and introduction of a voluntary home purchase scheme in collaboration with the State and Federal governments.

Mr de Jersey also urged residents of Brisbane to review the “flooding vulnerability of their own properties”.

“One feature, which emerges very strongly during my review, was the spontaneous outpouring of mutual support amongst community members,” he said.

“[This is] hardly surprising knowing the people of Brisbane as we do, because they are by nature, big hearted and generous people. But nevertheless, it was heart-warming.”

The review provided 37 recommendations, which Brisbane Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner said the council will has accepted and act on.

“We’ll be getting on to make sure these lessons are learned,” Schrinner said.

“This was Brisbane’s biggest-ever three-day rain event with more than 20,000 properties across 177 suburbs impacted by a combination of river, creek and overland flow flooding,” he said.

“This event prompted the biggest-ever clean up of our city with more than 60,000 tonnes of flood-impacted belongings removed from over 3000 streets during our special flood edition of kerbside collection.

“Mr de Jersey’s report is a vital piece of work and I thank him for the timely way in which he has produced it so we can begin actioning the recommendations immediately.

“We can’t prevent floods but we can always be better prepared and Mr de Jersey’s review will be the blueprint that helps ensure that happens.”

“Our Flood Resilient Homes Program proved how valuable it was during this flooding event with many property owners who undertook the program able to move back in quickly after being inundated,” Schrinner said.

“We will now look at adding additional areas to the program as well as expanding the eligibility to include business premises and apartment buildings.

“Both the Federal and State governments have indicated they will support a new buyback scheme and I look forward to working with them on the program to ensure Brisbane properties most at risk of flooding are voluntarily acquired, just like Council did previously.”

Schrinner said Mr de Jersey’s recommendations made it clear that Council’s emergency alert system should be promoted while the State emergency alert system needed to be reviewed.

“Council’s early alert system worked effectively however the report makes clear that we need more Brisbane residents to sign up to receive messages so we’re going to work harder to ensure that happens,” Schrinner said.

“However, Mr de Jersey has also urged the State Government to review its alert system to ensure it can more efficiently distribute warnings and I will be writing to the State to ask that it look into this issue as a matter of urgency.”

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