A senior flood operations engineer will be cross-examined and a weather bureau director will give evidence on the second day of the Queensland floods inquiry.


The Queensland Floods Commission of Inquiry got off to a fiery start on Monday, with Water Utilities Minister Stephen Robertson the first to give evidence on January’s state-wide disaster.

He withheld some documents from the commission under parliamentary privilege, despite a pledge by Premier Anna Bligh that the inquiry would leave no stone unturned.

Mr Robertson later advised that privilege could only be waived by a motion of parliament, prompting the premier to say the government would move on the material as soon as possible and all government and non-government documents should be provided.

The inquiry heard Mr Robertson had raised the idea of a pre-emptive dam release months before Brisbane flooded, but by the time he got a formal response, the destructive deluge had already begun.

Senior flood operations engineer Robert Ayre will be cross-examined on Tuesday.

On Monday, he told the inquiry the flood operation centre’s software was 15 years old and at the height of the flood crisis, power was lost to Wivenhoe Dam, creating problems with faxes and phone lines.

Mr Ayre said engineers used models based on no further rainfall when deciding what strategy to use for managing the dam, rather than models that factored in forecast rain.

The commission heard how engineers had to duck out to buy meals during their 12-hour shifts, had only mattresses to sleep on if floodwaters cut access to their homes.

Bureau of Meteorology Queensland regional director Jim Davidson will also begin his evidence on Tuesday.