Posted on: June 30, 2022 Posted by: Hotel Transylvania Comments: 0

Over ten years ago, the months of November 2010 to January 2011 saw the Australian state of Queensland suffer its worst flooding since 1974, generated by what was, at the time, the state’s highest average rainfall on record.

A woman trapped on the roof of her car awaits rescue during the Toowoomba flash flooding in 2010 [Image: Wikipedia]

Low-lying suburbs of Brisbane, the state capital, and over a hundred communities were devastated by the floods, resulting in the deaths of 33 people, and more than 200,000 residents were displaced.

What also made this catastrophe significant, as partly revealed in the final report released by the Queensland Floods Commission of Inquiry (QFCI) in 2012, was the lack of warnings given or preparations made by the then state Labor government, under Premier Anna Bligh, which could have significantly reduced the losses of life and property.

Now, in the wake of even more widespread and destructive floods two months ago, answers must be demanded. Why, despite the damning evidence from the 2011 floods, have tens of thousands of people in both Queensland and neighbouring New South Wales (NSW) again lost their homes and livelihoods? And why have communities that were deluged ten years ago been impacted again?

As in 2011, the worst-affected residents are in low-lying working-class areas where many people have moved because of sky-rocketing property prices and rents, often not being told of the flood risks by real estate agents and landlords.

Based on the testimonies of 345 witnesses, the QFCI’s final report acknowledged that government authorities were fully aware that the deluged areas were susceptible to flooding disasters, well before 2011, and measures could have been taken to reduce the carnage that resulted.

But like the interim report released by the QFCI in August 2011, the final report obscured how that devastation was made possible by the actions of both the federal and Queensland governments. That included permitting development in flood-prone areas, a lack of funding for emergency services and disaster management, and a dysfunctional coordination of rescue efforts, with no single agency in charge, as a Flood Risk Management audit had warned in September 2010.