Wivenhoe Dam engineers cleared of wrongdoing
The Queensland Crime and Misconduct Commission (CMC) has cleared the engineers who operated the Wivenhoe Dam during the Queensland floods of 2010 of any wrongdoing.
The CMC finalised its review of the material provided by the Queensland Floods Commission of Inquiry, finding insufficient evidence to indict the engineers on any charges.
After the matter was referred to the CMC by the Premier in March, the commission concluded that the engineers in question could not be faulted for their adoption of ‘Strategy W4’ in Seqwater’s Manual of Operation Procedures for Flood Mitigation at Wivenhoe and Somerset Dam.
The CMC commissioned retired Justice of Queensland’s Court of Appeal, John Jerrard QC, to complete a full examination of the material supplied by the Commission of Inquiry.
Mr Jerrard concluded that the inherrant contradiction in the flowchart which defined procedures W1 through W4, and a flawed definition of Strategy W2 compounded the issue.
“If the engineers had been following the flowchart they could have honestly believed they were in Strategy W2 until the contradictory terms of the definition were adverted to,” Mr Jerrard concluded.
“This contradiction in the manual would provide an explanation for all of the engineers’ inconsistent statements and descriptions of what they had done at the time of the January 2011 Flood Event, and is not evidence of either the commission of a criminal offence or official misconduct.”
Finally, Mr Jerrard noted that implementation of the Queensland Flood Commission of Inquiry’s recommendations for Seqwater to review/create a new manual, with the assistance of experts such as technical writers and legal review, to ensure compliance during any future flood, should remove any inconsistency or ambiguity.